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jf, Calcutt*. 

"rif^ fM' TIIR IIINIHt .If-ifEM OK RRI4ffW* *Ut!WR ANf> ART, 


1*HV*IC*, Till MtMANHA hVftrKM OF IN I"il*&fTAT!OM 

OF THE IIIHW! I,AW, ** A !*VIMi; kAl'K ** 

HOW i* VIM; l 



. G. M/\JUMDAK, 

-?/, Comwaltis Street, 



Printed by S. C. Ghosh, 

At The 

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xatXi Cwwotttts 5/r/ 




IT has become the custom with the scholars of 
the West now-a-clays, to extol highly the meta- 
physics of India, But at the same time they 
never forget to proclaim that her philosophy had 
never had the idea of considering ethics as a 
science independently nay, that it had taught, at 
times, the idea that the state of super-conscious- 
ness could be realised without even the attainment 
in life of a high ethical standard, 

An unbiased examination of the scriptures 
however, makes the matter appear In a totally 
different light The elaborate consideration of the 
Gimasthe Satttua, the Atylw, and the Tamos in 
them and of the effect of their influence on the 
subject and the object alike, in the internal as well 
as in the external world, points clearly to the fact 
that their teaching had always been to the effect 
that the going beyond law could only be had 
through fc faithful fulfilment of the ethical laws ; 
and that far from ignoring the ethical standard 
they had always given ethics and its practical 
application to human conduct, in every minute 
detail, their first and foremost consideration* 

It is to prove that, the book in hand has 
devoted itself; and it appears to us, that the reader 
will find in the pages to follow, a successful and 

brilliant exposition of the same, 





Section i. Enunciation of the %unns ... .,, i 

Section 2, The guntut as exhibited by the &ln/i\'<t 

Dars/mmt ... ... ... - 

Section 3. The gunttif as explainable in (height, of 


Section 4. Tht^ttms are relative to the situation of 
the thing for the time bcin^ ... .,, 15 

Section 5. The gunax in the arflmal and vegetable 

kingdom ... ... . ^,, 21: 

Section 6. The gums are relations between Subject 
and Object .*, * .. ... 2t | 

Section 7, TheguntiA' in relation to each other ... 27 

Section 8. Xtt/jwaguwt with regard to others ,,. 31 



Section i . The effects of the guntuf ... . . , -r> 

Section 2. The ^/ir as they affect tastes ami 

sentiments - ,. ,, , ,| 

Section 3. Tlwgunas as bearing upon the question of 

activity ancl inactivity . . . ^ 


Section 4. Summary of the discussion regarding the 

.* . *. ' ** M 52 




Section i. The three states of consciousness ... 56 

Section 2. The three states of consciousness 

(continued) ... ... ... ** 61 

Section 3. The three states of consciousness 

(continued) ... ... .*. ... 66 

Section 4. Development out of suppression ... 7$ 

Section 5. The intellectual faculties ..* ... 7^ 

Section 6. The rashas or sentiments ... ... Si 



Section i. Dual division of the gunas corresponding 

to Right and Wrong ... .. . 84 

Section 2. Conscience or the moral sense ... 8$ 

Section 3. The importance of the worldly distinction 

of Right and Wrong ... *.. . 93 

Section 4. Conscience and Virtue and Vice **. 96 



Section i. Dual division of the gunas corresponding 

to the Spiritual and the Worldly , 99 

Section 2. Division intojnana and ajmna t illustrated 

by texts ... ... ... !0 j 

Section^ Right and Wrong, morally and spiritually no 

Section 4. The spiritually Right and Wrong, orjmma- 
and ajnana^ or -sat- and asat tM 1 1 j 

Section 5, Duty determined by one's situation . 117 





Section L The general principle of $ttwik culture M 120 

Section 2. Success or Failure ... *. .* 123 

Section 3, The six tipm ., . ... 127 

Section 4* The six s&ttwik attributes .*. ... 132 

Section 5. The four dargas ,. ... *., 137 

Section 6* The three kinds of tribulation or the 

trMtipa .* ... ... ... 141 




Section i. Moral and Spiritual instruction ... 1,44 

Section 2. Humility and strength ... . 148 

Section 3. Character .. ... ** 151 

Section 4, Division of Labour.., ,. 153 

Section 5. The field of work of the sdttwifo .*. 155 

Section 6, One survives the fatality of kawttfrfandka 160 

Section 7. The Law of K&rma*l>andka, .* .,.164 

Section 8, Self-neglect not tolerated ..* ,,, 169 


Sections Yoga and the gttnas , . ,* 174 

Section 2. F<s>^ generally *., *., ** 178 

Section 3* The AMyAs yqga .. ... . . 180 

Section 4. The JtutH* and I$$t&k$iyQga ... .* -185 




Section i. The Vedic treatment of Right and Wrong 190 

Section 2. The S^nkhya treatment of Right and 

Wrong ... ... ... ... 196 

Section 3. The Pltanjala treatment of Right ancl 

Wrong ... ... . .. 202 

Section 4. Tie. Buddhistic treatment of Right and 

Wrong ... , ... * 211 


THE first edition was published without any 
preface, leaving the small book to speak for itself, 
The warm reception it met with, was, indeed, a 
matter of satisfaction. The first edition having been 
exhausted, I was called upon to bring out a second 
edition. The criticisms from various quarters have 
all been very favourable, and, in some cases, eulo- 
gistic, One highly-respected European scholar,, 
however, remarked that htfcould not quite reconcile 
the exposition of the funas, which was chiefly made 
on the basis of Sr&mat Bkagavat Gceto, with the 
texts of the Sdnkhya. Accordingly, in this edition 
I have not only added a section, showing that the 
texts of the SAnkhya agree with the exposition 
given, but also another section showing how the 
PAt&Hjtila D&rsana illustrates the subject* As a 
matter of fact, the subject is too big for my 
humble abilities. But I have done my best The 
book has been generally revised, to introduce a 
greater degree of clearness in or two other 
points, Upon the whole, this ; edition Is an 
improved and enlarged edition. 



IT is sometime since the second edition of this 
work has been out of print But as I intended to 
enlarge the present edition and as bad health pre- 
vented this being done promptly, there has been a 
considerable delay in bringing out the present 
one in time. 

The late Right Hon. Prof. Max Miiller 
wrote in one of his letters to the author, "One who 
follows the Geeta can never go wrong." But in the 
same letter he also hinted at the desirability of 
referring to other standard Hindu works bearing 
on the subject of ethics. 

It has therefore been thought wise to make such 
additions and alterations as would go to better 
the elucidation of the points raised in this book 
so as to enable the readers to have a clear grasp 
of the basic principles of the Hindu Ethics, which 
are intermingled with our religion the life and 
essence of our existence and society. It is impor- 
tant to note here that from the additions It will 
appear that the So-called difference that Is sup. 
posed to exist between the ethical interpretations 
from the points of view of the Vedfc Rishls, of 
Kapilaand Patanjali and Gautama Buddha has 

no psychic and philosophic foundation. Needless 
it is to add that our Ethics owes its origin to the 
display of the three ffunns, as has been explained 
in the Srimat Bhagabat Gceta the divine com- 
mentary of the Vedas. 

In fine 1 must take this opportunity to express 
my gratitude to our Rev, Swam! Samdananda, the 
Secretary, the Ramkrishmi Mission who has been 
gracious enough to #> through the pages of the 
book and write the short introductory with 
which the book opens, 

isth May, ig*<*\) 



The Hindu System of Religious Science and Ait. 

The Hindu System of Self-Cultwe. 

The Hindu System of Physics* 

The Mimansa System of Interpretation of the 

Hiudu Law. 
" A Dying Race "How Dying. 




General Principles. 

Section I, Enunciation of the Gunas. 

THE Hindu system of Moral Science 
is a part and parcel of the general spiritual 
philosophical system of the Hindus. 

The first principles of the Hindu spiri- 
tual philosophy are the , following : 

From the Absolute, Unconditioned and 
Perfect Supreme Being proceeds the re- 
lated, conditioned and imperfect universe. 

He manifests Himself as related and 
conditioned, in forming, and for the sake 
of, the related and conditioned universe 
and thus becomes the Personal God of love 
and power. 



There are three principles by which the 
phenomena of related and conditioned exis- 
tences are carried on. These are called the 
three -gunas of prakriti, i e., the three uni- 
versal tendencies of nature. These//0m are : 
(r), the sattwa\ (2), the r&j&s ; and 
(3), the tamas. 

To take the gunas in the reverse order. 
; i..'. The tantas Is the chaotic or dis- 
organizing tendency. 

- 2. The rajas is the individuating and 
isolating tendency. 

.. 3. The sattwa is the harmonising 
and gravitating tendency to bring a thing 
into harmony and order, with a more com* 
prehensive and more exalted sphere of exis- 
tence, than the sphere of itself, 

;- - , The#K*< as described above arc appli- 
cable to existences both physical and moral 
They are alike applicable to material objects 
and the moral nature of man, * 

Sloka 24. Chap. Xtt. Manu 


The Bhagavat Geeta thus describes the 
gunas in relation to the consciousness of 


20. When a particular object insignifi- 
cant and unsubstantial is allowed to engross 
and overmaster the mind in an objectless 

way, this is a state of tamasik consciousness," 
"21. When each thing is perceived as 
an isolated individual and no harmony is 
noticed between one thing and another, this 
is a state of rdj&sik perception," 

"22. Where one perceives an indes- 
tructible bond of unity by which all scattered 
things are bound up in an everlasting state 
of harmony, this is called sdttwik perception/' 
The same authority illustrates the gimas 



with reference to the action of men as 

"23. The s&ttwik action is that which is 
done in a way absolutely free from attach- 
ment, bias, aversion and without aim to gain/* 

"24. The r&jasik action is that, which 
is dictated by desire for pleasure, boastfully 
done and with much ado.' 1 

"25. The tdmasik action is that, which 
destroys prospects, indulges in injury and 

without any regard to manliness rushes into 

From the above it is clear that shortly the 
re as follows with reference to man : 

i. The tamagunai^ the self-confound- 
ing tendency by perfect submission to lower 

Slokas, 2$ 35. Chap. XVI II 


2. The raja guna is the self-centring 
or self-predominating tendency consisting 
of a course of selfish struggle with external 
forces high or low. 

3. The saiiwa guna, is the tendency to 
harmonize by controlling self or by sacrifi- 
cing self to higher forces. 

(i). The teanas contains the principle 
of disorganization. 

(2). The rajas contains the principle oi 
an evanescent organization, 

(3), The sattwa cdhtains the principle 
of a perfect organization. 

Section 2, The Gunas as exhibited by the 
Sankhya Darshana. 

UNLIKE the Geeta which deals with the 
subject of the gunas practically, the Sankhya 
treats them metaphysically, it refers to the 
gunas in connection with the theory of 
evolution of the cosmos propounded by it. 
In such a connection, the function of the 
gunas must naturally present a somewhat 


different aspect from that exhibited in the 
actual phenomena of the world, physical 
or moral. 

Thus we find that the SUnkhya describes 
the syttwa guna as "the fine manifesting 
principle."* But manifesting what ? Mani- 
festing every individual thing In the H#ht 
of the Supreme Universal Order, and the 
Supreme Universal Order in the light of 
every individual thing". It is hardly neces- 
sary to say that this is only an explanation 
arid not definition, a r nd that this explanation 
bears out the definition that the sattwa guna 
is the harmonizing tendency. 

It describes the raja ffuna as the "un- 
steady impulsive principle,"" This has 
been explained to mean the principle of 
differential or diversifying activity which 
comes to be the same as the individuating* 

Then again the tamas is said to be 
equivalent to the "dead-weight-Kke principle 

;i ^f5j TO 

' ^ S4nkkya Karika. 


of obscuration."* This is, in effect, the same 
as the chaotic tendency. 

In the above explanation of the three 
gunas by Sdnkhya, their moral aspect is not 
brought out prominently. This defect is 
supplied by the following sutra^ of the 
Sftnkhya, by which the sattwa is associated 
with complacency, in other words, with moral 
harmony ; the famas with discomplacency 
or moral confusion ; and the rajas with the 
want of complacency or false complacency 
involving distress. 

This makes it yet more clear that, the 
definition of the gnnas, respectively as the 
harmonizing, the individuating and the 
chaotic tendency, is borne out by the 
Sinkhya" Philosophy. 

The process of the evolution rather de- 
volution of the cosmos, as laid down in the 

Sutra, zj.S^nMifa Karika 

^ 12. Sdnkhya Karika, 


SSnkhya philosophy, removes all doubts as 

to the definition of the/vtnas. 

The first step in this process of evolu- 

tion is that in which the soul comes in 

contact with Pure Nature. 

Pure Nature is defined to be the balanced 

state of the three gunas.* 

Now, ihegunasBs explained above from 

their very character, stand in a graduated 
scale: the sattwa occupying the highest 
place, the rajas the next and the tamas the 
lowest Accordingly the tamos should yield 
to the rajas, and the rajas to the sattwa. 
When they are each in its natural place 
and due order of subordination, they are in 
the balanced state. This is the state of pure 
or pristine nature. As already stated, in 
the first step of the Sinkhya evolution, the 
Pure Puruska or the pure soul comes in 
contact with the Pure Nature and forms the 
grand nucleus of spirituality, purity, intelli- 
gence and love, which nucleus is called the 

Sutm . Vrittt. 


Makat-tattwa. In this stage the sattwa 
gnna Is the all-prevailing guna, the rajas and 
the tamos being both latent. This Makat- 
tattwa is the grand nucleus of harmony and 
order with nothing selfful or gross in it* 

In the second step of the evolution of 
the cosmos, the raja gnna comes to assert 
itself, and individuated existences are formed 
with set individualistic organs and senses. 
But yet tama guna is dormant, and gross 
sensuality and the dead weight of matter are 
not yet developed. This is the rdjasik stage 
of the evolution. A portion of Pure Nature 
In this stage becomes modified, i.e., becomes 
prakriti-bikriti, and man becomes invested 
with selfful instincts. 

In the third stage a portion of the modi- 
fied nature too, becomes further modified so 
as to be perverted as bikrita-prakriti, by 
the action of the tama guna* which now 
comes into full play. In this stage dead 
matter is developed, and man becomes 
weighted with a gross material body, which 
obscures the light of his soul an^eo^^ 
confound his spiritual nature* x'^r^f \ 



Thus the S&nkhya traces the downward 
evolution of the cosmos from Pure Prakriti 
through bikrita-prakriti into the engrossing 

It should be noticed that the state of 
Pure Prakriti or the state in which the three 
%unas are balanced is, in one sense, the 
state of the prevalence of the sattwa guna 
or the harmonizing tendency. As this is so, 
this state of Pure Prakriti is also called the 
state of snddha sattwa. 

Section 3. The Gunas as explainable in the light 
of the Patanjala Yoga Shastrau 

THE Sinkhya theory of evolution * is the 
theory of downard evolution. The Patanjala 
Yoga Shistra indicates how human nature is 
to pass through a course of upward evolution, 
The Yoga .Shftstra begins with the existing 
state of things. It points out how owing to 
sickness, languor, doubt, carelessness, addic- 
tion to objects of sense, erroneous percep- 
tion, etc., man finds it hard to march onward 


in his path towards a realization of the 
Perfect and Pure Intelligence and Nature. * 
In other words, Patanjali, in effect, says, you 
must combat the t&ma guna, For, although 
that term is not used in this connection, the 
things, as above enumerated which have to 
be overcome, are all the manifestations of 
the tama guna or the chaotic tendency. 

Patanjali next points out, in effect, that 
the first step to overcome this chaotic ten- 
dency is to accustom yourself to concentra- 
ting your mind even on selfful objects. This 
means that the first means of mastering the 
twna giina is to cultivate the raja guna 
under certain conditions and in a methodical 

Says Patanjala 

" An application to an object of pursuit 

Patanjala Sutra jo. Ch. /. 


or to the necessities of physical nature serves 
to steady the mind."* 


"Or the steadying of the mind by ponder- 
ing on anything that one appro yes."* 

But such concentration of mind or samddhi 
being mixed with egoistic or selfful objects, 
is comparatively a thing of an inferior quality* 
Such concentration or sam&dki is called 

" Meditation called samprajnatA is that 
in which there are selfishness, argumentation* 
deliberation and pleasure." $. 

The superior form of concentration or 
Yoga, in fact that which is properly called 
Yoga, is the surrendering of self by concen- 
trating all your might and strength upon 
the One All-good and All-pure Being, This 
is cultivation of the harmonizing tendency 
or the sattwa guna. 



It is said in the Yoga SMstra that, 
the mind of man though variegated by in- 
numerable impressions, they being focussed, 
becomes converted to an unselfish purpose. 
In other words, the various operations of 
the human mind have a tendency to har- 
monize unto a centre which is higher than 

the self. * 

The effect and object of this harmonizing 
process is to realize the happiness of divine 
union as well as to get rid of afflictions such 
as arise from ignorance, egotism, passion, 
hatred and attachment, t 

This means, that by\ultivating the sattwa 
gnna by the process of Yoga, man over- 
comes the influence of the raja gnna. 


Sutra r *3, Ck* IV. 

R ^ ^ i 

Sutra, 2*. Ch. IL 

t 1 1) 

Sutra j*'Ck. t 


The two primary means of effecting 
Yoga or this consummation of the s&ttwik 
state, are self-control, and religious obser- 
vances. * Perfection in Yoga or harmoniza- 
tion is attained by persevering devotion to 
the Lord of all t 

This is also the teaching of the Bhagavat 
Geeta from its beginning to end. 

The S^nkhya, even though it starts its 
process of evolution in an agnostic attitude, 
has been forced to admit that at the end of 
that process is the All-knowing and AH- 
doing God. I 

Thus the end of Sftnkhya is the begining 
of Patanjala. 

TheS4nkhya shows how Pure Nature 
gets into mixed nature, and how it descends 
lower into perverted nature ; the Patanjala 


flf^ ^ , gR r 

Patanjala Sutra, 2$ & ^5. Ch* II 
I ^ n 

SAnkhya 'Sutra # Cfa III. 


rises from the perverted nature to mixed 
nature and then to the Pure Nature, when 
it attains to suddka-sattwa and the state of 

The first stage of Yoga is to rise over 
gross nature, i.e. 9 over the tdmasik condition, 
and to realize its own spiritual nature' 

But by rising over gross nature one may 
yet indulge in worldly attachments, that is, 
rd/asik tendencies, t 

The human soul approaches kaibalya or 
perfect independence (of its gross surround- 
ings) when it absolutely rises above selfish- 
ness, i.e., r&jasik tendency. $ 

Then it attains the state of snddha sattwa 
being purely balanced.? 


Sutras, j &* 2$. Ch. L 

* q&m 

r; iwrfw; n 8 i ^ 

Sutra, 28. Ch. 

Sutra, jd C!L III. 


Section 4. The Gunas are relative 'to the situation 
of the thing for the time being. 

"KNOW the subject soul and the object 
nature both to be eternal." 

"And know changes (bikAra) and the 
gunas to be phenomena of nature/ 1 * 

The gunas are imperfect conditions of 
nature, which means that the gunas embody 
the principles of relativity and dependency 
as between different parts of nature. They 
are not essences of things but are merely 
relations of things. Thus the gunas are 
comparative. The tdmasik condition of one 
creature may be exactly the condition which 
another creature fills in its rdjasik condition. 

For instance, what is the tdmasik state 
in man is the rdjasik state of the brute, and 
what is rdjasik state in man may be the 
tdmasik state of a creature superior to man 
in the scale of creation. 



Take then some beings in the scale of crea- 
tion in order : an angel, a man and a brute. 
Now consider the gunas with regard to man, 

1 . When he is in a chaotic state of mind, 
i.e., in a tdnzosik state, he becomes almost 
an animal only with certain physical instincts. 
In short, in this state, he tends to become 
a brute. 

2. Again, when he is in a harmonic 

O" ' 

state of mind, i.e., in a sdttwik state, he tries 
to harmonize himself with other created 

things unto the great centre of all In this 
state he tends to become an angel or devoid. 

3. But, if he is only m the r&jasik- state 

or in the state of mind in which he isolates 
every thing so as to centre it in himself, he 
only follows certain passions and attach- 
ments which cannot draw him higher, but 
which may*draw him- lower* In this, condition 
he is in a state of action anci reaction which 
is a sort of an abortive state of humanity. . 
In inanimate existences where the action 
of matter is the only perceptible phenome- 
non, the gums will work, thus: out of the 
chaotic state of matter, i, e n out of the 


tdmasik state, particles congregate and form 
into a nucleus of individual existence by 
the force of raja guna. The existence so 
formed is then placed as a part of a system 
with a centre towards which it gravitates 
and so exhibits the sattwaguna in material 
shape. Take for instance the case of the 
solar system. 

The constituents of a planet, for example, 
the earth, show that out of a chaotic state* 
of matter the body of the planet was formed 
by a process of individuation and isolation ; 
and then by a harmonizing and gravitating 
process it isplaced in acertain relation with the 
sun the centre of the systemwhich makes 
it perform its regular motions. To give 
another illustration. The magnetic needle 
points to the pole-star by a harmonizing 
attraction which may be said to be "its sdt/wM 
state. If it is forced away from that direc- 
tion, it becomes unsteady and quivering, 
This may be said to be its rdjasik state. 
Then again, if it be brought in contact with 
a piece of iron ore, it will stick to it, losing, 
for the time being, its peculiar virtue of 


indicating the north direction. This would 
be its tdmasik condition. 

The modern western theories of animal 
creation show a line of thought resembling 
that adopted by the ancient Hindus in 
formulating the gunas. The Darwinian 
theory of evolution, for instance, is on the 
same line as the principle of transmigration 
of souls from a lower to a higher order, or 
vice vcisa, by the force of thegunas, 

But it is not within my proposed province 
to go into details of metaphysical questions. 
1 have only to allude to them as bearing on 
the subject of the system of moral philosophy 
as understood and practised by the Hindus. 

It should however be noted here that 
the relative character of the gunas in their 
non-physical aspect is expressly mentioned 
in the following S&nkhya sutras : 

"The features- complacency, non-com- 
placency and confusion are merely their 
reciprocal comparative distinction/'* 

Sdnkhya Sutra /^/, Chap. f. 


" But as regards their physical aspect 
viz. light, heavy and moving or the reverse, 
these are in one sense their common proper- 
ties, and in another, reciprocal relative 
distinction/ 1 * 

The word guna is, by some, taken to 
mean 'cord', but this is an imaginative play 
upon the word guna which in dictionary 
means both a quality and a cord. The 
Bhagavat Geeta speaks of the gunas as the 
means of fastening the soul to his physical 
nature, but on the face of it this is a figure 
of speech and does not literally imply the 
gunas to be cords. But even assuming that 
sattwa, rajas and tamas are realities, the 
sdttwik, the r&jasik and the tdmasik are 
mere relative tendencies and the Bhagavat 
Geeta treats them as such. 

Sdnkhya Sutra /2$ f Chap* /, 

Prof. E. B. Cowell of the University of Cambridge wrote 
to the author asking whether the orthodox authorities recog- 
nize the gunas to be relative. The answer is a reference to 
the above two sutras, of the highest authority on the subject. 


Section 5. The Gunas in the Animal 
and Vegetable kingdom. 

Two instances have been given exhibiting 
the g^inas in the inorganic creation. Now 
take the vegetable kingdom. Consider for 
instance the case of a tree. It is liable to 
disease and premature decay by the abnor- 
mal action of air, water and heat. This is 
its i&masik state, 

It sprouts from the seed and grows by 
absorbing the necessary materials from the 
earth, air and the sun's rays. This is its 
rdjasik state, 

Its sditwik state will require a little 
thought. A tree produces fruits. These 
fruits are adapted to form the most delicious 
food of animals and men. The fruits are 
annually borne and surrendered by the tree. 
They are in no way necessary for its growth 
and preservation. Nor are they even 
necessary for the continuance of the species, 
Because that purpose might have been 
served if it produced barely the seeds, without 
depositing the seeds in those sweet, juicy 


and nourishing things, called fruits. In fact 
by producing fruits and by rendering' other 
beneficial services, the tree brings itself in 
harmony with the requirements of the higher 
species of creation the animal kingdom. 
This is its sdttwik tendency. 

Then take the case of the animals. They 
are liable to- disease and premature decay 
.and ' are apt to be confounded and to be 
distracted into madness. This constitutes 
their tdmasik tendency. 

Their instincts regarding food, move* 
ments and propagation of the species cons- 
titute their -rdjasik state. 

There is no difficulty to fiind their 
sdttwik tendency also. They are well 
known to reciprocate feelings of kindness 
and love shown to them. They show grati- 
tude and some of them fidelity in service. 
This is something higher than the sphere of 
animal existence and is more than what an 
animal life requires. This is, in fact, a 
tendency in a brute to stretch out of brutal 
existence and to have a touch of the human 
sphere of existence and to harmonize with 


it. This is clearly the sdttwik tendency in 
the brute creation. 

Thus, from the inanimate existences up 
to the animal kingdom, every thing has a 

tendency to rise higher than itself and to be 
in touch and harmony with the class of things 

above it. Man is privileged to enjoy the 
whole of the lower creation, Nature not 
only provides all the necessities of his 
existence but also makes itself "beauty to 

his eyes and music to his ears/' And is he 
alone destined not to go further than his 
own self and not to feel the attraction of 

some higher being than himself? No one 

can reasonably answer yes. 

Man must be subject to the three gnnas 
like every thing else. As he must be sub- 
ject to the tendency of chaos and confusion 
and to ' that of individuation and isolation, 
so also to the tendency to draw towards and - 
harmonize with the Great Soul of the 


Section 6, The Gunas are relations between 
Subject and Object. 

The word 'self is used in the explana- 
tion of the gunas. But what is the mean- 
ing -of 'self ? It means the subjective phase 
of a thing or being as contrasted with the 
objective phase of it. 

According to the Hindu philosophy the 
totality of the created universe stands in the 
relation of objectivity to the Personal God 
of the universe, who is regarded as the 
Great Subject or the Great Soul in relation 
to the creation or nature /r<^r// Des- 
cending to the particular beings of the 
created world, every one of them has a 
subjective and an objective phase. The 
subject ^of every being or thing "is the in- 
dividual soul possessing it, and the object 
is the surroundings on which it leans or 
in which it is located. The subject is the 
actor" or the karta, and the object is the 
acted-on or the physical surroundings. 

* The question, whether the purusha in his ideal state 
can be said to be karta^ does not arise in the cas of 
jturusHas encased in bodies. 


1. The tama guna is that relation be- 
tween the subject person and his objective 
surroundings, in which the objective sur- 
roundings get the upper hand of the subjec- 
tive person and confound him. 

2. The raja guna is that relation be- 
tween the subjective person and his objec- 
tive surroundings, in which the subject 
struggles to master the object but fails in con- 
sequence of its weakness and inconstancy. 

3- The sattwa guna in a person means 

that the subject links himself with the Great 

Subject the Great Soul of the universe, sur- 

rendering his own subjective character and 

putting himself in the relation of objectivity to 

that Great Soul and thus completely becomes 

a master of his situation as against his own 

objective surroundings. Thus the Bhagavat 

Geeta says with reference to the funas : 

"5. Sattiaa, rajas, and tamas the 
gunas coherent in nature, bind the subject 
person with his objective physical nature."* 

Stoka 5, Chap. XIV. 


"6. Of these the sattwa, being pure, 
illuminating and tranquil, fastens the soul 
to his physical nature with blissful an "I 
spiritual affinity." * 

"7. The rajas, embodying passionate 
attachment and being productive of ir- 
resistible, desires, fastens the soul to the phy- 
sical . frame with the affinity of restless 
activity/' t 

"8. The tamas again, being engendered 
by utter lack of true perception and calcu- 
lated to over-master the soul, fastens it with 
delusion, lethargy and drowsiness."* 
.. ."9-.. In short, the $attwa\$M\ attach- 
ment of happiness, the rajas is an attach- 
ment of restless activity, and the tamai 

?rar vw* rersti^ 

si wrft wrwwrf *rm ti t 
t ^ Trin^-^rfv i 

qnNt *f . ti s 


clouding all true perception is an attachment 
of delusion." * 

Section 7, The Gunas in relation to 
each other. 

One guna does not imply the absolute 
negation of the others. On the contrary 
one guna presupposes the existence of the 
others in a suppressed state. 

Thus says the Geeta -t 

"KX The sattwa comes into existence 
when the rajas and the tamas are controlled. 

* 'Similarly the rajas, when the sattwa 
and the tamas are suppressed. 

''Similarly the tamas, with regard to 
rajas and the sattwa"' 

In fact the rajas at times allies itself with 
the tamas, and the result, in the case of man, 

we * i 
55 TW: mn^ ^a^nc^f 11 e n 


tst: ww anw^f wn: iw* ^r^rwi ti ? n 

-p <S* 10, Chap. XIV, 


is that compromise, known as selfish 

The alliance of the sattwa with the rajas, 
results into that higher state of activity, which 
may be called self-regarding but not selfish. 

Thus the one is in a certain sense a 
condition precedent to the other. In this 
sense all the gunas coexist. But they can- 
not coexist, all of them, in a prevalent 
state. One can alone prevail at a time, 

"i i. When in every avenue of the body 
spiritual and moral order is manifested, then 
owing to that spiritual and moral illumina- 
tion the sattwa gnna is developed."* 

"12. When temptation, longing for sel- 
fish objects, attachment to objects of sense, 
disorderly and worldly desires are generated 
that is owing to the prevalence of rajaguna"^ 

cT^T ^S?TJ^<WT II U 11 

^ ii \\ ii 

Slokas ii & 12, Chap, XIV. 


"13. When the tamas prevails, there 
is obscurity, depression, delusion and con- 
fusion/' * 

The term raja guna, which implies a sort 
of organizing tendency, would lose its signi- 
ficance if the tama guna or the chaotic ten- 
dency were not potentially present along 
with it. It is the suppressed state of the 
tama guna with an additional element. So 
is the sattwa guna, the suppressed state of 
the rajas and the tamas with something 
additional. Therefore, in the sense of each 
guna implying a suppressed existence of the 
lower, all the three gunas are coexistent in 
each man at every moment of time, t It is, 
therefore, that Hindu writers speak of. the 

Slokas 13, Chap. XIV, 


t if ^W^RT IJ^TWFT: n \\ n 

1! \ 11 

Patanjala Sutras 73 6* i^ Bk* IV* 


coexistence of the three %nna$ not only in 
man but in the whole universe. In describ- 
ing the bargas, i. e. 9 the objects of pursuit, 
it has been shown that a given pursuit, be it 
of pleasure or gain or duty, may be invested 
with any one of the three gunas according 
to the motive with which it is pursued. 
Pursuit of pleasure for its own sake uncon- 
trollably is tama guna. Pursuit of pleasure 
for the sake of personal enjoyment is raja 
guna. In the latter case, pleasure is pursued 
with a suppression of the tama gnna. 
Again, pursuit of pleasure, not for an? sd- 
fish end, but for the sake of realizing a 
happy blessing conferred by the Good Pro- 
vidence,, is saitwa guna. But what does it 
mean ? It means pursuing pleasure, in sup 
pression of the raja and the tama gunas. 
The latter two gunas cannot be said" 'to be 
altogether absent from the thing. Of 
course there must be a process of%limi- 
nation and discrimination. For, all pleasures 
are not capable of being stamped with the 
raja guna. There are some which must be 
altogether avoided being inimical to self- 


love [rajas]. And then again, all pleasures, 

which are congenial to self-love, are not fit 
to be impressed with the sattwa guna. But 
those that are so fit when so impressed 
imply a suppressed state of the raja and the 
tama guna in respect of them. The materials 
upon which the gunas are severally im- 
pressed are often the same. 

Section 8. Sattwa Guna with regard 
to others. 

The highest expression of the sattwa 
guna as found In the Geeta, relates to one's 
duties to all other beings. "To look with 
an equal eye on every creature," is the 
shortest explanation of the sattwa guna* 

Ao-ain "One should hate none, and 


should be friendly and kind to all,"t 

* * * * ' 

Sloka$4., Chap. XVIII. 

* * * 

Sloka 73, Chap. XII. 


"From whom none feels any annoyance 
and who feels no annoyance from any 


The emancipated man Is described by 
the Geeta to be "free from double feeling; 
self-controlled and devoted to the good of 
all beings ;"t and "one who sees all beings 
like himself."* 

These passages exhibit fully that the 
sattwa guna is the tendency which harmo- 
nizes one with the centre of the moral and 
spiritual universe, and that there is no fric- 
tion and no irritation in it. 

The raja guna is shortly described as 
being the state of akankdra* Its tendency 

# * 

Sloka, 75, tffoyfr. XI f. 

,2& Chap, K 

;*. ... -.*. # * 

; : '- '.',- : , ' Skka 32, Chap, VL 


is to create a false centre, around which 
one wishes to move ; that false centre being 
the self. 

The r&jasik state is suicidal By assert- 
ing self, one subjects himself to constant 
friction and irritation. This constant fric- 
tion and irritation gradually weakens the 
vital organization and leads to a state of 
depression and torpor which is called the 
state of the tama guna. 

The great distinguishing feature of the 
raja guna is that it is full of friction, while 
the sattw gnna is without any friction, 
The attempt to individuate isolatedly or push 
one's self puts one in collision with all beings 
and all things around ; for, the man so at- 
tempting is, by the very assumption, only 
led by one idea, ms*, that of his self, and 
does not care about the other existences, 

The result inevitably is that he causes 
friction both to himself and others with 
whom he comes into contact. The effect 
of this friction is to cause irritation. The 
irritation so .-caused increases passion and 
restlessness, and thus the man is put in a 


perpetual wheel of action and reaction, called 
the wheel of karma-bandka. But, by the 
very definition,, the sattwa gnna is har- 
monizing. It consists of an attempt to har- 
monize together with other things and 
beings, with the centre of the moral and 
the spiritual universe. Therefore, there is 
no friction in it. Hence, the sattwa gitHa 
is without wear and tear. It is the unfailing- 
means of progress and development and is 
full of tranquillity and ease. Therefore, it 
is that the Hindu writers insist on giving 
up selfish desires. They insist on giving 
up selfish desires only, and not all desires 
whatever. One is emancipated from work, 
all whose works are devoid of kama-$<in 
kalpa or selfish purpose,* but who is devoted 
to the good of all things. t 

The sattwa guna is described as the 
prakdsha [development] of self ; the raja 

|wr: t in 

Sloka 19, Chap. IV.G&M. 

t See, Slok 25, Chap. V. quoted before in p, 32, 


guna as prabwtti [action and reaction] and 
the tama gnna as moha [infatuation].* As 
in fact, a man feels his stomach when it is 
out of order, so a man is conscious of self 
when it is out of harmony with the superior 
forces of nature. When it is in such har- 
mony it is not felt, but it is none the less real 
and tangible for that. Thus in the s&ttwik 
state though there is no consciousness of 
self, yet there is real development [praMska 
of it. It should be noticed that as on the 
one hand the breach of harmony leads one 
feel the existence of one's self, so, on the 
other, a preponderating consciouness of self 
leads to a breach of the harmonious and 
healthy state of the mind. Therefore, the 
Hindu philosophers deprecate a preponderat- 
ing consciousness of self, 


Nature, Character and Effects of 
' . '. -. .. the Gunas 

Section 1. The Effects of the Guhas. 

The effects of the g'nnas are thus des- 
cribed by the Geeta, 

"16. The effect of the action of the 
good is sattwik being pure and unsullied. 

"The effect of the raja gnna is miser}", 

"That -.of the tamas is utter want of 
moral perception."* 

"17. From the sattwa guna proceeds 
perception of moral and spiritual relation, 
from the rajas temptations, and from the 
tamos delusion, confusion and want of moral 

"18. The sdttwik ascends high, the 


r ii t^ n 

Sloka /6 6* //, Chap. XIV* 


rdjasik remains stationary, the tdmasik 
goes down."* 

The Mah&bhrata also describes and 
distinguishes the gunas by their effects as 
follows : -- 

"The gunas rajas, tamos and sattwa 
arise from their own counterparts in the 
senses, mind and spirit." 

"These exist equally in all creatures. 
These are called attributes and should be 
known by the actions they induce. 

"As regards those actions, all such 
states, as one becomes conscious of in one- 
self, as united with cheerfulness or joy, and 
which are tanquil and pure, should be known 
as due to the attribute of stttwa. All such 
states in either the body or the mind, as are 
united with sorrow, should be regarded as 
due to the influence of the attribute, called, 
the rajas." 

"All such states again as exist with stupe- 
faction [of the senses, the mind or the un'der- 

' $fokai8> Chap. XIV. 


standing] whose cause is unascertainable. 
and which are incomprehensible [by either 
reason or inward light], should be known as 
ascribable to the action of the tamos" 

"Delight, cheerfulness, joy, equanimity, 
contentment of heart due to any known 
cause or arising otherwise, are all effects of 
the attribute of sattwa" 

'"Pride, untruthfulness of speech, cupidity, 
passion, vindictiveness whether arising* from 
any known cause or otherwise, are indica- 
tions of the quality of rajas." 

"Stupefaction of judgment, heedlessncss, 
sleep, lethargy and indolence, from whatever 
cause these may arise, are to be known as 
indications of the quality of tamos. ' 

Every thing associated with happiness is 
attributed to sattwa guna. For, there never 
can be true happiness which has not resulted 
from the purity of motive. All things united 
with sorrow are said to be due to the raja 
guna* For, selfish motives are never blessed 
with a happy end ; sooner or later they lead 
to a sense of regret and sorrow. 

The definitions given, in the Geetrt 


shortly mean : "that Is sattwik happiness 
which is engendered by discipline, pure self- 
complacency and is not followed by pain, 
while sensual pleasure, which is rdjasik, is 
followed by pain."* 

It should not be forgotten that the gunas 
embrace both the moral and physical nature 
of man, and excessive sleepiness or drowsi- 
ness indicates an abnormal state of bodily 
torpitude, hence it falls under the head of 
the tama guna* 

The gitnas and their effects are described 
in the Manu Sanhiti,t in terms almost similar 
to those of the Bhagavat Geeta and Mahg- 


" -.Sloka 36 58 Chap, XVIIL 
t 5e^ Slokas 24*-^ Ckap* XIL Manu Sankita* 


Judged by the effects of the gunas as 
described in these books, the correctness of 
the definitions given at the outset is clearly 

Section 2. The Gunas as they affect 
Tastes and Sentiments, 

The Bhagavat Geeta says as follows : 
I. As to devotion or regard generally ; 
"2. By nature the devotion of man is 
threefold ; sdttwik [pertaining to sattwa 
Guna\, rdjasik [pertaining to raja sritn<i, , 
and t&masik [pertaining to tama^mmJ] 1 
"3, .As a man is, so is his devotion ; 
every man has his own way of devotion. As 
his devotion is, so is he." f 
II. As regards worships : 


t : 9 iar i; ii^ii 

Slokas 2 &> j. Chap. X VI L 


"4. The sattwik worships heavenly 
beings, the r&jasik the earthly-minded, and 
the tdmasik the lowest spirits.* 

"5 & 6. Those who, with vanity and 
boasting, with passion and violence, exercise 
hard penance contrary to the skAstras, 
thoughtlessly enfeebling the elements of the 
body and the spiritual essence that lies deep 
in it, must be known as unworthy."* 

III. As to food: 

"7- Like every other thing there is a 
three-fold division to be made of food, sacri- 
fice, penance and donation."* 


: ii * ii 

-t, Chap. XVII. 


"8. The sAttwik [having a healthy taste] 
likes food that promotes longevity, tranqui- 
llity, strength, freedom from disease and 
cheerfulness, food, that is palatable, sooth- 
ing, nourishing and cheering/" 

"9. The rdjasik [having an excited 
taste] approves of food which is too sour, 
too hot, too pungent, too salted and sti- 
mulating, producing discomfort, disquiet and 

"10, The tdmasik [having a morbid 
tastej is accustomed to food that is devoid 
of freshness, devoid of taste, of bad stench, 
stale, and is the refuse of what others had 

Slokas S-TO, Chap. XVtL 


IV, Regarding sacrifice : 

u ii. As regards sacrifice, the sdttwik 
performs sacrifices as a matter of duty wi- 
thout any selfish object, He does it to 
practise the act of surrendering his self to 
the Supreme Will."* 

"12, While the rdjaslk sacrifice is for 
the attainment of selfish purpose and for 
show of pride."t 

"13, The t&masik sacrifice again is de- 
void of devotion, contrary to the rules laid 
down by the wise, without any mental con- 
centration, without satisfying those who 
assist at it, and without any gift to the 

IV. As to penance : 

"14. As regards penance, first of all 

m ?rrw 

Slokas //-/j Ckap> XVIL 


it is of three kinds ; bodily, verbal and 
mental. Honouring* the divine, the respect- 
able, the spiritual and the wise, practi- 
sing cleanliness and simplicity, undergoing 
the discipline of brahmackaryya and 
refraining from hurting creatures, are called 
bodily penance."* 

"15. Using language tnat is unannoy- 
ing, true, pleasing and beneficial, and recit- 
ing the sacred books are verbal penance." "I" 

"16, Commanding cheerfulness, practi- 
sing fair dealing and contemplation, controll- 
ing the senses and purifying the heart, are 
called the mental penance/' * 

"17. When a man, devoid of selfish ob- 
jects, with earnest regard, practises the 



J 18 

i \\ 

Slokas 14^6, Chop. XV1L 


threefold penance, such penance is to be 
known as the s&ttwik penance.' 1 * 

U i8. But where one, to secure deference, 
honour and worship for self, practises the 
penance as a matter of pride, such penance 
is transient and momentary and is called the 

"19. Again, where with perversion of 
sense, by torturing* self, for destroying others, 
a penance is performed, it is to be known as 
the t&masik?* 

V. As to gifts : 

"20, As regards donation, where one, 
feeling that a gift should be made, makes a 
gift considering the fitness of time, place 

'Sbfas /7-/9,.C&#. XVII*' 


and the object, without any expectation of 
* recompense, such a gift is sdttwik?* 

"21. But where one, with the object of 
getting a return or aiming at selfish benefit 
and with an uneasy mind makes a gift, such 
a gift is rdjasik?* 

"22. Again, where one without any con- 
sideration of fitness of time, place and object 
and without any act of regard, on the con- 
trary with reproaches, makes the gift, such 
a gift is tdmasik"$ 

The above illustrations of the gunas are 
chiefly in reference to the private life of an 
individual rather than to his dealings with 
his neighbours. Nevertheless, the * gunas 
comprehend both private life and dealings 
between man and man. For, the maxim, 

II ^ 1 
S/ofeas 20-22, Cttop. 


atmavat sarvabhutesd [regard all creatures 
as yourself], which is a short exposition of 
the sattivaguna, renders an elaborate dis- 
cussion of the gunas, in regard to dealings 
between man and man, unnecessary. 

Section 3 The Gunas as bearing upon 
; the question of Activity and 

One great misapprehension with regard 
to thegunas consists in thinking that the 
differentiation of the three gunas is based 
upon differences of activity and energy; 
The misapprehension sometimes entertained 
is that sattwa gnna means rest and peace 
with a negation of action, and that the raja 
gnna alone imply activity and energy, and 
that the tama guna denotes mere lethargy 
and confusion without activity. 

That this is not the case is evident from 
passages quoted from the Bhagavat Geeta f 
here and else where, which deals with 
sdttwik, rdjasik a&A'tdinasik deeds, and 
ik.. r&jasih and tdmasik actors. 


Says the Geeta : 

"23. Sdttwik deed is that which is done 

by one disinterestedly as duty enjoined, 
without any personal attachment and without 
any passion or hatred/'* 

"24. That deed is r&jasik, which Is done 
Interestedly or with conceit of self and with 

".2.5. That deed again is t&masik^ which 
Is begun with infatuation and without any 
regard to its enslaving" or injurious effects on 
self and others, or without regard to one's 
competency for it."* 

; . '"26. A s&ttwik actor is he who is free 
from attachment, has no conceit of self, is 
imbued with steadfastness and is indifferent 

; 1S?R| 1 


whether the result brings to him benefit or 


"27. A rdjasik actor is he, who is 
passionate, desirous of benefit to self, cove- 
tous, envious and impure and is affected 
by joy and sorrow. "t 

"28. A t&masik actor is he, who is 
undisciplined, low-minded, stubborn, wicked, 
insulting, lazy, despondent and procrastinat- 

Thus, there is action and actor within 
the sphere of all the three guMas, and 
therefore, the sattwa guna does not mean 
inactivity, nor the rajas is the only source 
of activity. The tamas too is confusion' 

,*nrt ^ 


n ^c 

Skk&s 2628, Chap. XVITT 



which may be inactive or tumultuously 

Besides, the Bhagavat Geeta distinctly 
lays down that, roan must work in all cir- 

Says the Geeta : 

"In no circumstances can a man even 
for a moment remain without action, The 
gunas of nature perforce lead him to action."* 
Therefore, activity and inactivity have 
nothing to do with the differentiation of the 
gunas. Man must always act* It is the 
state of mind with which he acts, the motive 
which he sets before him that differentiates 
the gwnas. In the sattwa guna the motive 
is to conform to the Supreme Will ; in the 
raja guna it is to serve ahani or self ; in the 
fama guna there is no intelligent motive 
but the man is led away by some infatuation 
or confusion. In short, the sAtlmik man 
is God-centred, the rdjasik is self-centred* 

IR| I 

; ^ ii 

SloJka 5, Ckap. Ill 


the tdmasik is uncentred The sattwa guna 
really enlarges the sphere of one's existence, 
the raja guna contracts it, and the tama 
gnna dwindles it into nothing. 

The three forms of renunciation, as des- 
cribed by the Geeta,* remove all doubts 
on the subject. 

"7. One should not renounce works 
that are enjoined. To renounce such 
through infatuation is tdmasik" 

"8. When one renounces works, because 
It is arduous and difficult, it is r&jasik re- 
nunciation. The man who does so, has not 
the benefit of renunciation/' 

"9. When one renounces the blind 
attachment to a work and all selfish motive 


for it, but does the work as a piece of duty 
enjoined, this is sdttwik renunciation/' 

In fact, the term kanna is often contra- 
distinguished from dharma, taking karma 
as work done under the influence of selfish- 
ness, and dkarma as work done under the 
influence of a sense of duty or of sraddka, 
Karma in this sense is to be avoided. But, 
if it be used in a comprehensive sense to 
include dharma, surely it is not to be avoi- 
ded, so far as it is identical with dkarma. 
Dharma or duty is well known as being 
threefold : i* Ack&ra, or duty to one s 
body and mind ; 2. VyavaMra, or duty to 
the society ; 3. PrdyascMiia, or duty to 
one's soul or dtmd. Now these are all work 
or karma, but they are not karma in the 
sense in which it is to be avoided. 

Section 4, Summary of the discussion 
regarding the Guna8 

THE Hindu writers deal with the gnnas 
in various aspects as even the few quotations 
given indicate. Firstly, they discuss them 
with reference to their causes ; secondly* 


they deal with them with regard to their 
effects ; and thirdly, they consider their 
character in themselves. With reference 
to the causes, the sattwa %nna is said to be 
caused by jnana or buddki, e., a percep- 
tion and realization of the moral and spiritu- 
al order of the universe.* The raja guna 
is represented as being the result of a sense 
of akam or egotism which is not illuminated 
with /^mz or buddki;\* The tama guna 
again is treated as the effect of utter want 
offaana, and confusion even of the sense 
.of -atom. It is attributed to avidya or 
ajnana, i.e. ignorance and confusion.* 

In connexion with the question of the 
effect of the gnnas, the question of enjoy- 
ment arises. 

*tfwsm fw*r% w&spti 


With regard to the effect, the sattwa 
is described as producing happiness or 
tranquillity, as contradistinguished From 
pleasure and excitement.* 

The Hindu writers, like European 
writers, do not include in happiness that 
momentary or immediate pleasure which 
a sensual act produces or which satis- 
faction of an animal passion occasions. The 
rajaguna is defined as that which pro- 
duces misery. For, selfish pursuits, how- 
ever productive of immediate pleasure^ 
lead ultimately to sorrow and regret, That 
little book, entitled, 'Mirage of life 1 , which 
embodies illustration from the lives of the 
great men in Europe in every branch of 
life, of the statesman, the poet;, the artist, 
the warrior, the man of fashion, illus- 
trates the position laid down by the 
Hindus regarding the raja guna. The 

* See. Slokasj? 6- j<? CIwp.XVHL quoted before in p. 


tamaguna is defined as producing confu- 
sion, destruction and infatuation, (See the 
extracts already made from the MahH~ 
bh&rata and the Geeta). 

Then as regards the character of the 
gnnas, the sattwa guna is called peaceful and 
tranquil, the raja gnna full of struggle and 
labour, and the tama guna as being a state 
of torpor and lethargy. In fact, the tama 
guna is the most deplorable state of all 
The Puranas say that when a man earnestly 
acts and stirs himself even against God, if 
it be with openness and candour, he is ulti- 
mately saved by coming in contact with Him. 
The cases of Ravana and Kumbha-karna, 
in the Tretd-yuga, are referred to as illus- 
trations of this idea. The English proverb, 
'weakness is the mother of wickedness', also 
throws light on the point, and shows that 
the iamas is the worst of all the gnnas. The 
respective character of the three gunas is 
aptly illustrated by the well-known example 
of the loving wife, the termagant wife and 
the false wife. 

Different States of Consciousness. 

Section I, The three states of 

The opening passage of Santi-parva of 

the Mahabharata, already quoted, has, in 
effect, the following : 

" The gunas arise from their counter- 
parts in the senses, the manas and the 
faddki. " 

..." These., constitute the threefold division 
of consciousness expounded in books of 
Hindu philosophy. 

The three states of consciousness, are the 
following : 

1. The sensual state more fully the 
sensuality-engrossed state. 

2. The mental state more fully the 
unbalanced mental state, 

3- The spiritual state more fully the 
morally and spiritually balanced state. 


1. The sensual state is that state in 
which the sixth sense or the manas is in a 
state of stupefaction or confusion, and the 
objects of the five senses drive it into any 
channel of sensuality or infatuation. 

2. The mental state, otherwise called 
the state of ahamk&ra, is that in which the 
manas prevails as the sixth sense, which 
perceives the material relations of things 
with dsakti [selfish attachment] and k&ma 
[selfish desires] and falls back upon itself 
with a sense of weakness and unsteadiness. 

3. The spiritual state is the state called 
the ddkydtmik state in which jndna or 
bnddki prevails as the seventh sense, which 
perceives the moral and the spiritual order 
along with the physical order of things, 

with bhakti [faith] and sraddkd [regard], 
and gets strength and support leaning on 
something higher than itself. 

In MahAbhtrata, SUnti-parva, Section 
247, is the following : 

"In man there are five senses, 
" The manas is called the sixth. 
. " The bnddki is called the seventh/ 


In section 248 of the same Parva we 
have : 

1. " The impressions of the senses are 
superior to the senses ; 

2. t( The manas is superior to these 
impressions ; and 

3. "The buddhi is superior to manas" 
The meaning of the above is that when 

the manas or the sixth sense is dormant, 
the impressions of senses lead the man. 

But when the manas is active, it makes 
the impressions of senses its vaulting board 
to pursue selfish instincts and desires. 

Where again the buddhi is awakened and 
a perception or jnAna of the moral and 
spiritual order of the universe has been ac- 
quired, the buddhi or jndna leads the manas 
to objects of universal love and charity* 

The Bhagavat Geeta has the following ; 

" 4 2 - The senses are called high ; over 
senses is the manas ; over the manas is the 
the buddhir 

; n ^ 

Sloka, 42, Chap, IIL 


The distinction between manas and 
buddhi is explained as follows : The manas is 
the principle of egoistic thinking and egois- 
tic perception. The buddhi is the principle 
of self-impenetrating consciousness corres- 
ponding to what may be called faith or 
spiritual consciousness. 

The following allegory contained in Sec- 
tion 254 of the Santi-parva will explain the 
position of the manas as placed between the 
senses and the spiritual faculty called 

" Let the body be called a city. The 
buddhi [when awakened] is its mistress. 
The manas, as dwelling within the body, 
is the minister of buddhi whose single aim 
is righteousness. The senses are the subjects 
that are employed by the mind upon the ser- 
vice of its mistress the buddhi. For cheri- 
shing those subjects, manas displays a strong 
inclination for acts of diverse nature." 

In these passages buddhi is used in the 
sense of the spirit illumined with a percep- 
tion of the moral and spiritual order of the 
universe* When this is the case, the manas 


also becomes a. good agent and assists the 
buddhi. But when it is left alone to deal 
with the senses, it only develops the self and 
the akam, ignorant of the higher sphere of 
universal love and fellowship. Looking to 
this threefold division of consciousness, 
which is said to correspond to the three 
gunas, there can be no possible doubt what 
each of the three gunas means* 

The sattwa is concomitant with the state 
of consciousness called jntina or fodd&i. ie n 
perception of the moral and spiritual order 
of the creation. 

The rajas goes with that state of con- 
sciousness known as that of false self or 
akamin which the manas strives to acquire 
merely a dominion for itself and sees 
nothing beyond. 

The tamos is the result of that state of 
consciousness in which the mind allows it- 
self to be led away by gross objects of the 
external world in a state of confusion. 

The distinction made by some western 
metaphysicians between the transcendental 
and the empirical corresponds to the distinc- 


tion between the sattwa and the raja-tama 

Section 2. The three states of 
Consciousness (Continued). 

Texts illustrating the three states of con- 

scwnsness as they come in conflict 

with, and bear on, each other. 

The lowest state of man's existence is 
the sensual state in which he is engaged 
with the material objects. The highest 
platform is that Qijn&na or bnddhi, which 
discerns, even in the objects of sense, order, 
harmony and love. These two levels of con- 
sciousness correspond respectively to the 
tamas and the sattwa guna as already 

Half way between these two levels, is 
that state of consciousness known as that 
of the manas corresponding to the rajas, 
which is higher than that of predominance 
of the senses and lower than that of jn&na* 


The mind, which has not attained to the 
state of jn&na, is ever in. an unsteady condi- 
tion and in that sense regarded as constitu- 
ting a false state, viz., that of akam. The 
MahSbhftrata throws light on the above* 
mentioned distinctions as affecting human 
life by the following metaphorical descrip- 
tion : * 

"Frightful is the current of life which, 
flowing in diverse directions, bears the 
world onward in its course. The five senses 
are its crocodiles ; the manas and its pur- 
poses are its shores ; temptation and stupe- 
faction are the grass and straw that float on 
its bosom ; lust and wealth are the fierce 
reptiles that live in it; truth forms the 
tirtka by its miry banks ; falsehood forms 
its surges, and anger its mire. Taking 1 its 
rise from the Unmanifest, rapid is its 
current incapable of being crossed by per- 
sons of uncleaned souls. Do thou with the 
aid of jnana cross that river which harbours 
alligators in the shape of the passions.*' 

See Santi-paroa Sec, 


The Bhagavat Geeta impresses the same 
truths in similar metaphorical but more 
philosophical language. 

It says' 

"He is learned in the Vedas who knows 
that tree, the root of which is above [in the 
higher sphere], and the branches below [in 
the lower sphere] and which must be known 
as the indestructible/' * 

" The branches of which spread both 
above and below, cherished bythe-gunas 
which tend to objects of desire." t 

" The branches throw down roots [as 
those of an aswatka tree] all around in this 
mortal world drawn by the attraction of 
karma [selfful course of life, the result of 

n i \\ 


Slokas i& 2, Chap XV. 


which is to bind man to the consequences of 
his acts]/' * 

" The entire shape of this tree cannot be 
known, neither its beginning, nor end, nor 
the way in which it exists. One should cut 
off the firmly fixed lower roots of this tree 
by means of the process called dsanffa, z\e, , 
securing freedom from attachment, and thus 
one should seek the feet of that Being who 
is the beginning and end of all existence/ 1 * 1 

The following from Mahdbhftrata [S^nti 
parva, Section 254], contains another simi- 
lar metaphorical description of the pheno- 
menon of the life of man : 

w?fi T fSpnf 




'* There is a wonderful tree, called kAma 
[selfful motive of life] in the heart of man. 
It is born of the seed called spiritual confu- 
sion. Wrath and pride constitute its large 
trunk. Constant selfish longing for action 
is the basin around its foot for holding the 
water that nourishes it Ajndna [want of 
the perception of a universal spiritual order] 
is the root of that tree, and mistaken hanker- 
ing after external objects is the water that 
sustains it. Envy constitutes its leaves. 
The evil acts of past times supply it with 
vigour. Loss of equanimity and anxiety 
are its twigs. Grief forms its large branches, 
and fear is its sprout. Longings after diverse 
objects that are apparently agreeable, form 
the creepers that twine round it on every 
side. The man, who is the slave of desires 
bound in chains of iron sitting around that 
fruit-yielding-tree, pays his homage to it in 
expectation of obtaining its fruit. 

" But he, who unfastening those chains 
cutteth down that tree and seeketh to cast 
off .both pleasure and sorrow attending 
it, succeeds in attaining to the end of both. 


The foolish man, who nourishes this tree 
by indulgence in the objects of the senses, 
is destroyed by those very objects in which 
he indulges after the manner of a poiso- 
nous pill destroying the patient to whom it 
is administered." 

Section 3, The three states of 
Consciousness (Concluded). 

In the higher state of consciousness, one 
is free from the evils of the lower state, but 
is not deprived of what is good in the lower 

"70. As water falls into the full ocean and 
it remains tranquil and calm, so tranquil and 
happy is the man into whose heart all de- 
sires enter and not the man who seeks them 
with greed."* 

11^0 it 

Skka, 70, Chap. II 


This supremely high state of mind is 
thus described in Mahibhdrata, SUnti-parva, 
Section 251 : 

" One that behaves towards all creatures 
as if one is their kinsman, and one that is 
acquainted with the Supreme Spirit, is said 
to be conversant with all the Vedas ; one 
that is divested of passion, being content 
with the knowledge of the soul, never dies. 
It is by such a behaviour and such a frame 
of mind that one becomes a truly regenerate 
person. Having performed only various 
kinds of religious rites and diverse sacrifices 
completed with gift of dakskind, one does 
not acquire the status of a Br^hmana, if one is 
devoid of compassion and hath not given up 
passions. When one ceases to fear all crea- 
tures and when all creatures cease to fear 
him, when one never desires for any thing 
nor cherishes aversion towards any thing, 
then is one said to attain the status of a 
Brlihmana. When one abstains from injur- 
ing all creatures in thought, speech or act, 
then is one said to acquire the status of a 
BrShmana. There is only one kind of bond- 


age in this world, viz., the bondage of pas- 
sions, and no other. One that is freed from 
the bondage of desire attains to the status 
of a Br&hmana. 

"Freed from the control of desires like 
the moon emerged from murky clouds, the 
man of wisdom, purged of all stains, lives in 
patient expectation of his time. That person 
into whose mind all sorts of desire enter like 
diverse streams falling into the ocean, 
without being able to enhance its limits by 
their discharge, succeeds in obtaining tran- 
quillity, but not. he who cherishes desires for 
all earthly objects. The latter even if he 
attains to heaven has to fall away from it 

"The Vedas have truth for their recondite 
object. Truth has the subjugation of senses 
for its recondite object. The subjugation of 
senses has charity for its recondite object 
Charity has purification for its recondite 
object Purification has renunciation for its 
recondite object. Renunciation has happiness 
for its recondite object. Happines has 
heaven for its recondite object. Heaven has 
tranquillity for its recondite object. For 


the sake of contentment thou shouldst wish 
to obtain a serene understanding which is 
a precious possession, being indicative of 
emancipation and which scorching all griefs 
and all distractions and doubts together with 
all longings moistens them in the end. One 
possessed of those six attributes, viz n content- 
ment, griefiessness, freedom from attachment, 
peacefulness, cheerfulness and freedom from 
envy, is sure to become full or complete." 

Thus the highest level of human existence 
does not mean a demolition of all desires 
but a purification of them by one engulfing 
desire of universal good, in which other desi- 
res are to be merged, and to which they are 
to contribute in a tranquil state. To demolish 
desires would mean the demolition of all work, 
but the Geeta shows the absurdity of it 

"4. Men are not to be credited with 
freedom from karma (work), when they 
refrain from work ; nor are men perfected 
by renunciation of all work." * _ ___ 


"5. Men cannot remain without work 
or desire even for a moment. Impelled by 
the three gunas of nature they must work at 
all times." * 

6. He, who checks all his active organs 
of sense, and, at the same time, dotes over 
the objects of sense in his mind, is a hypo- 
crite." t 

"7. But he, who regulates the senses by 
his mind, and thus indulges in work without 
being controlled by any selfish desire, is 
reputable." t 

Far from teaching inactivity, the Geeta 
insists on work, but work cleansed of all 

ww: W i4: 

Slokas, 5^7 hap. HI Geeta 


"25. The very things, that persons who 
are slaves of desires do, may be done by men 
whose souls have been illumined byjnana 
for the sake of humanity." * 

"30. Make Him the object of all your 
works and sacrificing unto Him all things 
with your heart and soul, go on working and 
doing, and you will feel no wear and tear."t 

The above passages from Mah&bhUrata 
and Bhagavat Geeta amply make clear the 
following propositions : 

i. That the Hindu philosophers make 
a distinction between kdma (passion) and 
that higher thing, called, sraddkti (purified 
desires). Kdma is desire which controls and 
confounds the man. But sraddh& with bkakti 
[ or the desire to do duty ], sacrificing all 
to the Supreme Will, is an attribute of the 
illumined soul and leads to holiness, 

wwr; ^^fgraft TOT 

Slokas, 25 & 30, 'Ckap. III.. 


2. That they insist on the subjugaton 

of the kdmas, but not of the desires 
indentified with sraddkd and bhakti that 
lead to sanctity and purity. In true faith, 
sraddkti is an element* 

It is simply by misunderstanding lang- 
uage that European writers impute to the 
Hindu philosophy, a doctrine of suppressing 
all desires whatever ; in other words, of in- 
culcating the necessity of divesting man. alto- 
gether of will 

The word kdma from the context in 
which it is usually used can never mean de- 
sire as a colourless act of will It means 
such a state of desire as entirely possesses a 

*rsri *ft in ^ 

Sloka 47, Chap VI 



man- or presses upon him by the force of his 
selfish attachment. It is this state of desire 
that the Hindu philosophers condemn as 
enemy and insist on getting rid of. 

Where, however, a man is master of his 
desires by submitting to a higher standard, he 
has no k&ma. Then he is influenced by the 
higher motives afforded by jnana and bkakti. 
He resolves all things unto the Arbitration 
Supreme and sacrifices all things to the 
Supreme Will This is a state of emancipation, 

Kdma is contradistinguished from sraddhA 
in its higher sense thus : The former is a 
desire originating in a selfish impulse. The 
latter is a desire originating out of defer- 
ence to some one or something higher than 
self. As regards sraddhA in its broader 
sense, see Geet&,' chapter XVII. 

Kdma is a desire for a thing for one's 
own sake and not for the sake of duty. A 
desire for a thing, not for one's own sake 
but for something higher and nobler, would 
not come under the category of kdma. The 
MaMbhirata say : ' , , "; '. 

person into whose mind all sorts 


of desire enter and take diverse courses 
falling into the ocean (of Ms mind) without 
being able to disturb it, succeeds in obtaining 
tranquillity and not the man who cherishes 
desires for all things for all earthly objects/ 1 
As already observed, the Geeta also 
says the following : 

'The very things, that person who are 
slaves of desires do, may be done by men 
whose souls have been illumined byfaana 
for the sake of .humanity." 

In fact, in a state . of emancipation the 
working of the mind is increased a hundred- 
fold instead 1 of being decreased. Only the 
working is serene, peaceful and blissful The 
passage, just quoted, which speaks of all 
sorts of desires entering into the emancipated 
soul and of taking diverse courses, shows it* 
Bhagavat Geeta further -states, "the 
mind that suffers itself to be engrossed by a 
particular thing can never attain to 
or emancipation."* 

tiss n 

Chap* //. . 


The Geeta forbids being engrossed by 
passion for any particular object. The re- 
medy it prescribes for this disease of passion 
is simple. 

It is this : "Never set your heart upon 
any object for the sake of any considera- 
tion of your own little self. But work, as 
you must, in furtherance of the moral and 
spiritual order of the universe." 

Section 4. Development out of 

Thus according to the Hindu system of 
moral philosophy, the maxim is, 'pursue 
your duty and not any personal selfish desire 
and all your desires will be realized unsoli- 
cited*' In other words, 'eschew the pursuit 
of all selfish pleasure and you will realize all 
sorts of pleasure (happiness) unsolicited.' 

According to this system, the pursuit of 
a desire in a selfish way is suicidal ; in other 
words, the pursuit of a selfish pleasure is 
suicidal But desires are realized and happi- 
ness Is secured by doing duty; Therefore the 
Hindu sages enjoin the suppression of k&ma 


or selfish desire, but they point out that out 
of this suppression cometh the fulfilment 
of all desires with purity and happiness. 

To be completely mastered or wholly 
possessed by selfish passions and sensual 
objects is to be swayed by the tama gmna* 

To be free from selfish passions and the 
influence of sensual objects is to be swayed 
by the sattwa gnna. 

To be subject to a struggle between the ac- 
tion and reaction of selfish desires and selfish 
motives is to be swayed by the raja gnna* 

The three states of. mind include both 
intellectual and emotional phases* 

The emotional phase of the fattMgun& 
is infatuation. The intellectual phase Is a 
hopeless blundering condition. 

The emotional phase of the ra/agitna is 
Asakti or selfish attachment to persons and 
things. The intellectual state of it, is dis- 
traction and prejudice of judgment. 

The emotional phase of the sattwa guna 
is bhakti [reverence] and 'priti [love]. The 
Intellectual state of it is a sound comprehen- 
sion and clear judgment 


As already observed, the Hindu writers 
no less than the European writers, contrast 
happiness with pleasure. The following 
from the Bhagavat Geeta will make it clear. 

U 3 6 "37- Sdttwik enjoyment is that which 
consists of discipline-bred cheerfulness lea- 
ding to the end of all sorrow, which may be 
accompanied with painfulness in the begin- 
ning, but which terminate in the happiness 
that resuls from self-complacency/** 

"38. Rdjasik enjoyment is that which 
proceeds from the application of the senses 
to the objects there of and which gives plea- 
sure at the outset but ends in grief/'* 

"39, T&masik enjoyment is that which 
consists of confusion and infatuation of mind 
both in. the beginning and in the end, and 
which proceeds from dormancy, lethargy 
and delusion."* 

* Site the original Slokas quoted before in pp, 

3Q.and.54. '. . '' , . . ' ' '. ..'. 


Section 5, The Intellectual Faculties. 

It has been already seen that the intellec- 
tual operations enter into, more or less, at 
least the two states of consciousness known 
as the ddkyatmik and the mdnasik. The 
English words 'person/ Imagination* and 
'memory' are more or less equivalent to 
buddhi) dhyana and smriti. 

How these faculties enter into the three 

states of consciousness will appear from the 

fallowing passages in the Geeta, which des- 

cribes the three phases of the understanding 

or pure intellect generally : 

"30. That understanding is sdttwik by 
which one can distinguish between the ne- 
cessity of action and the necessity of for- 
bearance, between sound deed and unsound 
deed, between fear and courage, in short, 
between bondage and freedom.."'* 

'31. That understanding is rdjasikby 
which the distinction between virtue, and 

Slobi, 32, Chop; XVIII, 


vice, between duty and dereliction of duty, is 
improperly understood."* 

"32. That understanding is tdmasik which 
confounds virtue with vice and perverts the 
meaning and object of every thing. "t 

Thus it appears that each of the three 
functions reason, imagination and memory 
has a treble aspect, including a sdttwlk 
and a rajasik aspect. 

The rdjasik imagination and memory 
are concerned with objects of pleasure and 
gain. The sdttwik imagination and memory 
consist of dhyana or contemplation of high 
and noble objects and the study and recol- 
lection of moral and spiritual truths and of 
pure and high examples. 

In the higher sense of the terms, "prajnd 
"dhritf and l $mrit are functions of jnana 
or bnddki* In the lower sense they are the 


Slokas^x &J2, Ckap^XVIILGeeta 


functions ofmanas. In the one sense their 
objects are lofty, in the other they are low* 

It may be said that this is a faulty classi- 
fication, inasmuch as it proceeds not upon 
the character of the functions themselves, 
but with regard to their objects. 

But the answer is this. Judgment, ima- 
gination and memory change their very 
character according to the two classes of 
objects on which they are employed. As 
functions oijnana or buddki, they are clear, 
powerful and easy. But as functions of 
manas they are misty, weak aud arduous. 
Under the influence of jnana [the minister 
of the pure soul], they are comprehensive 
and reliable* Under the manas [the minis- 
ter of self], they are mixed with prejudice 
and passion. It should be noticed in this 
connection that the intellectual occupations 
consisting of studies of science and art, par- 
take of that good and useful character which 
is the result of a combination of the 
and the ra/a gnna. 


Section ,6 v - Ihe Rashas or Sentiments. 


As affecting the three states of conscious- 
ness, the subject of the intellectual powers 
has been briefly discussed. There is, how- 
ever, another set of powers, rather suscepti- 
bilities, called t|#?. rashas, which also re- 
quires some explanation in their bearings 
upon the thrg^ states of consciousness, in 
fatct in their bearings upon the three gunas. 

The raskas are susceptibilities which, 
though not ignored, are not systematically 
treated in western philosophical works, A 
rasha is a susceptibility or sentiment the 
position of which is between perception and 

There are various raskas such as the 
sense of the beautiful, the serene, the sub- 
lime, the pathetic, the ludicrous, the rough 
and the di%usting. 

Some of these belong to the highest state 
of consciousness called that of jnana, in 
other words, to the sattwa guna* Others to 
the manas or the raja guna, and others 
to the sensual state or the tama guna. 
A-rasAa is gentler than an active emotion. 

' ' ' ' ' ' ' 


It touches the mind, and sometimes gently 
permeates and dissolves it, as if it were. 

Such of the rashas, as arise from a per- 
ception of the moral and spiritual relations 
of things, belong to the sattwa guna. 

While those which arise from the sense 
of selfishness, as connected with the percep- 
tions of the material relations of things, 
appertain to the raja guna. 

And those that arise from a perversion 
of all relations and from utter confusion be- 
long to the tama guna. 

Thus the madhura (or the sense of the 
beautiful), the karitna (or the sense of the 
sympathizable), and the s&nta (or the sense 
of the serene) belong to the sattwa guna. 

The veer a (or the sense of the brave) and 
the Msya (or the sense of the laughable) may 
either belong to the sattwa or the raja gnna 
according to the circumstances* 

Then the randra (or the scorching) be- 
longs to the raja guna* 

And the vtbhatsa (or the disgusting) al- 
ways belongs to the iama gnna* 

If a man succeeds in cultivating the 


sdttwik rashas with bhakti and skraddkd, 
that cultivation would alone secure him 
jnana, which is the essential concomitant 
of the s&ttwik state. For, the rasha$ apper- 
tain to the heart which is the vital part 
of a man's existence. In fact, jnana or 
buddhi, as defined by the Hindus, is not a 
thing of the brain alone. It is something 
higher than the brain and includes the 
feeling nature of man known as the heart. 

The Christian saying is, 'keep thy heart 
with diligence, for out of it are the issues -of 
life/ Now the rashas are things of the heart 

So, if you cultivate the higher raskas 
with bhakti and sraddha, you ascend the 
stair of the $&ttwik state. 

The reader will realise the supreme bene- 
ficial influence of the rashas by reading the 
Sreemat Bhdgavat. 

The sense of the beautiful belongs to the 
sattwa guna, because there is no selfishness 
in it. Kant analyses the feeling of the beauti- 
ful to be that delight, which is entirely dis- 


'Dual division into the Morally Right 
: and Morally Wrong. 

Section I. Dual division of the Gunas 
corresponding to Right and Wrong. 

The division of the tendencies of nature 
into the three gunas, is a scientific and ex- 
haustive division. It has been explained 
that, concretely the existence of one gun a, 
separately from the others, can scarcely 
be imagined. But abstractly, for a scientific 
view, they must each be considered separate- 
ly. The mechanical powers as scientifically 
defined, are never met with in the actual 
world free from complications. Neverthe- 
less, the abstract definitions given of them, 
are indispensably necessary for an accurate 
knowledge of them. Similarly, you may not 
find any one of the gunas existing in the 
world without complications and combina- 
tions. But they must be studied as free 
from such complications and combinations. 
For the purposes of a scientific study of the 


tendencies and forces of nature, the triple 
division made by the Hindus seems to be 
a proper division. 

But a dual division is more useful for 
purposes of the practical world, and it is not 
difficult to make such a division. A dual 
division is, in fact, practically made by the 
Hindus as well as other nations, into (i) 
the right or proper tendencies, and (2) the 
wrong or improper tendencies. In this dual 
division the sattwa guna falls under the first 
head and the tama guna under the second. 

But how is the raja giina to be dealt 
with ? As regards the world of business, the 
raja guna is the most important of all the 
gunas. The sattwa and tamas, occupying 
extreme positions, are not required largely 
to be taken into account in considering 
worldly dealings. In worldly matters they 
are more useful as exhibiting respectively 
the highest and the lowest ideas, the one to 
be aimed at and the other to be avoided; 
But every worldly act is more or less rdjasik* 
If the raja guna be placed under the second 
head, i.e n the head of the wrong, then all 


worldly acts would be wrong. Such distri- 
bution of the gunas is manifestly absurd for 
purposes of considering what is right and 
wrong in the world of practical life. 

It is necessary to examine the character 
of the rajaguna as bearing upon this ques- 


Raja guna is the self-centering and 
self-inflating tendency. It is the attribute 
of ahank&ra. It is placed between the 
saitwa gxna *nA the tama guna. As occupy- 
ing this position, it has two phases. It 
sometimes leans towards or approaches the 
tema guna. For instance, the bestowal of 
alms on the poor men for the sake of reput- 
tion, or for laying them under obligation, 
would be an exhibition of the raja guna ; 
and robbing a poor man of his pittance by 
violence or wickedly, would also be an ex- 
hibition of the raja guna. It is clear that 
there is a vast difference between the two 
cases. In short, in the former case raja 
guna leans towards the sattwa guna, and 
in the latter, towards the tama guna. 

Thus the raja, guna has a higher and a 


lower phase which may be respectively 
called the sattwa-r&fasik and the tama- 
r&jasik tendency. 

The Santi-parva recognizes such a divi- 
sion of the raja guna into sattw&srita rajas 
and raj&srita lamas, and draws attention to 
the distinction between these to sections of 
the raja guna. 

The raja guna being thus split into two, 
it becomes easy to make a dual division of 
the gunas as follows : 

i st. The sattwa-rajas with the sattwa, 

sndly. The tama-rajas with the.tamas. 

There is no difficulty about understand- 
ing sdttwik and t&masik acts. 

But as regards the distinction between 
sattwa-r&jasik and tama-r&ja$ik acts, it is 
this. Both these classes of acts are marked 
by a sense of inflation of self and by selfish 
motives. But the one class is not hurtful 
to society, nay it is often, in effect, benefi- 
cial to society. The other is hurtful to, 
and not tolerated by, society. The former, 
as harmonizing with social requirements, 
has a s&ttwik tinge ; the latter, being the 


reverse, has &t&masik tinge. Doing chari- 
table acts or acts of utility for fame, pursu- 
ing projects of ambition or gain without 
hurting the interests of society, are examples 
of sattwa-r&jasik acts ; oppressing and 
injuring people led by motives of pride or 
gain are examples of tama-r&jasik acts. 

This dual division of the gunas corres- 
ponds to the classification of acts into 
dharma and adkarma or of nyaya and 
anyaya. Dkarma includes not only $&ttwik 
acts but the sattwa-r&jasik acts also. So 
adkarma includes not only t&masik acts but 
iama-r&ja$ik acts also. This division, it 
will be seen, is the basis of the sense of 
right and wrong, according to the modern 
signification of the terms, and constitutes the 
principle of worldly morals. 

Section 2. Conscience or the Moral Sense. 

THE term conscience, or the moral sense, 
is applied to the sense by which the distinc- 
tion, between what is morally right and what 
is morally wrong, is made, ie the distinction 


between the sattwa and sattwa-raja gunas 
and the tamas and tania-raja gunas. The 
western writers quarrel over the question 
whether this sense is innate or acquired. 
Now there is no doubt that it is innate in 
one sense. It is innate in the sense that 
the s&ttwik and the sattwa-r&jasik tendency 
naturally exists in man, and also in the 
sense that when the s&ttwik or the sattwa- 
rdfasik principles are enunciated, a feeling 
arises in their favour as contradistinguished 
from the raja-t&masik and the tdmasik prin- 

But as regards the question what par- 
ticular acts or what particular classes of acts 
are morally right and morally wrong, this 
can only be determined by a sense of pc- 4 
pediency or by the opinion of the society 
in which the question arises.* 

According to the Hindu system, ques- 
tions of spiritual right and wrong are trea- 

WT^PUT w^: ^ w: ^rr^aifi'w: ii ? o^r 

Sloka 108, Chap* XIIManuSankM, 


ted In religious books or books offlaramdr- 
tka. But as regards the specification and 
classification of acts morally right and 
morally wrong, these are dealt with in the 
moral codes known as the dharma sh&Uras* 
These dkarma sk&stras embody the quin- 
tessence of the wisdom of the sages of the 
past. They thus represent the best social 
public opinion in one sense. Therefore, 10 
determining what particular acts are sattwa- 
r&jasik or morally right, and what are tama- 
r&fasik or morally wrong, the injunctions 
of the dharma sh&stras are of greater Impor- 
tance than the calculations of utility or expe- 
diency of any individual. 

In the Geeta, an appeal* Is made to a 

wr 3r<wrrB?wj] . 



Slokas 31-33, C&ap* IL 


sense of expediency and to the dharma 
skdstras to make Arjiina feel the moral dis- 
tinction, based upon the differences between 
the higher and lower rdjasik tendencies. 

He is asked to note, "that according to 
the sAdstras (which represent the opinions. of 
the wise men of the past) nothing is a higher- 
virtue to a Kshatriya than to carry on a. 
just war." 

The appeal to the raja-s&ttwik as con- 
tradistinguished from the pure sdttwik is. 
more distinctly made when Arjiina is asked 
to remember "that people will publish his 
ill-repute for ever and that men of honour 
should prefer death to ill reputation.!" 

The term pdpa (vice) means what is 
morally , wrong, while the term viskayikatd 
(selfish worldliness) is used to denote what 
is spiriually wrong. 

Now p&pa or what is morally wrong is 
defined as follows in the Mahanirvina Tantra: 


Sloka 3^ Chap.IL 


"14. Doing what Is forbidden and omit- 
ting to do what is enjoined."* 

"15. It is divided into two parts as it 
causes injury to one's self or to others."t 

It is clear that generally in avoiding 
JApa one has self-love and the fear of social 
punishment in view. 

But in avoiding selfish worldliness, one 
has in view a higher sphere of spiritual 
existence and love to God. Thus the nega- 
tion of pdpa, L e., punya, may be rdjasik 
though mixed with a tinge of the sattwa 
guna, and the negation of worldliness is 
param&rtha which is purely s&ttwik* 

: 11(811 

Slokas t4.&z& Chap, XIV. 


Section 3, The Importance of the Worldly 
Distinction of Right and Wrong. 

The importance of securing the cultiva- 
tion of what is right even from a selfish 
point of view should not be underrated. The 
tama-r&jasik tendency is a powerful tendency,, 
It is the parent of the enemies kdma, 
krodka, etc., hereafter explained, which 
constantly work to lead one to utter ruin. 
If one can rise over this tama-rdjasik ten- 
dency by cultivating the sattwa-r&jasik ten- 
dency, it will be a great decided step in the 
right direction. 

Even in the worldly sense of what is 
right, the purely s&ttwik acts are not exclu- 
ded, though the sattwa-r&jasik acts form; 
the main portion of it. In the worldly sense 
of what is wrong the purely t&masik as well 
as fama-rdfasik are similarly embraced. But 
practically as regards worldly dealings and 
business affairs, the distinction of right and 
wrong lies between the sattwa-rdfasik and 
tama-r&jasik acts. For, the purely s&ttwik 
acts on the one hand, and the purely t&masik 
acts on the other, are but -rarely met with Ira 


the practical worldly concerns. Besides, as 
regards the tdmasik acts, the tama guna, 
being constituted of confusion, sometimes 
no moral distinction is attributable to it. 

Thus the distinction of right and wrong 
as a moral distinction, especially according 
to the systems of western ethics, is practi- 
cally a distinction between the sdttwa-rdfasik 
and tama-rdjasik acts, both being phases of 
the raja gnna. One is the higher phase 
and the other the lower. One approaches 
the sdttwa gnna, the other approches the 
Jama gnna, as has been explained before. 

Education, public opinion and the state 
laws have a great influence in inducing men, 
though selfishly disposed, to remain within 
the limits of harmlessness. Many by nature 
and by the influence of self-respect and 
pride keep themselves within such limits, 
In this way, the tama-rdjasik tendency is 
generally defeated. The tama-rdjasik ten- 
dency '.means selfishness outranning 1 all limits 
and driving one headlong into an utterly 
confused and disorderly state ; as for ins- 
tance, using violence through rage, or taking 


away another's property by deceiving him 
or by stealth, and the like. These acts are 
not absolutely t&masik, but tama-r&jasik ; 
for, there is method and shape in them in- 
telligently dictated by selfish desires, and 
they are not characterized by torpor or con- 
fused tumultuousness. 

If such acts are prevented by the in- 
fluence of a sense of self-respect, or vanity, 
or fear of social opinion, and the laws of 
the country, the society is protected. The 
motives of forbearances afforded by circums- 
tances like the above, are of course not very 
high and cannot be placed higher than the 
raja-s&ttwik level 

Thus the sattwa-rdfasik state of mind 
is a very useful state. Besides, one should 
not forget that it is not always safe to 
attempt rising at the top of moral progress 
by a sudden leap. It often also happens 
that, while one thinks that by refraining 
from active works of selfish pursuit, he is 
attaining to the sattwa guna, he is really 
lapsing into a state of t&masik torpor and 
tuselessnesa. Thus Arjiina was urged to 


take up arms even on the ground of 
saving his reputation ; as, surely it was 
better that he should do duty from a sel- 
fish point of view, than that he should omit 
to do it altogether. Of course the higher 
ground of doing duty disinterestedly and 
by way of self-sacrifice was the ground 
which was more strongly and more repea- 
tedly urged. 

Section 4. Conscience and Virtue and Vice. 

IT will be seen that conscience, or the 
moral faculty, as it is popularly understood 
is not even co-extensive with the sattwa- 
r&jasik as contradistinguished from the 
jfama-rdjasik tendency. For, the sattwa- 
rdfasik tendency includes not only the cases 
of a man's action concerning others, but 
also those directly concerning his own in- 
terest as an individual. But the word con- 
science is not always extended to the latter 
class of cases. Whether a man looks to 


his own health, or to his own rights, or neg- 
lects them, is seldom thought to be a matter 
of conscience. But whether he observes 
his duties to others as regards their health 
or their rights, is called a matter of cons- 
cience. The sattwa-r&fosik tendency, how* 
ever, as contradistinguished from the tama- 
r&jasik tendency, covers both classes of 
cases. Similarly, the pure s&ttwik tendency 
either concerns one's self in relation to 
himself or in relation to others. When it 
concerns simply ones own self it would 
hardly be called a matter of conscience. 

While the application of the term con- 
science is mostly limited to one's acts con- 
cerning others, the terms virtue and vice 
are co-extensive respectively with sattwa 
gnna and sattwa-raja guna on the one hand 
and tama-r&fas and raja-t&ma$ on the other,, 
whether concerning one's self or others. 
These terms have both a subjective and an 
objective sense. In the subjective sense 
they indicate the qualities of a man's mind. 
In the objective sense, they mean the acts- 
which proceed from those qualities. The 


means by which virtue is secured are called, 
by the Sanskrit writers, dama, yama and sama. 
By dama is meant subjugation of the 
passions ; yama means the regulation of the 
desires, and sama means securing harmony 
among them. Practice and education are 
among others the processes by which dama, 
yama and sama are effected. According to 
the Hindus, the first step to acquire the 
power of dama, yama and sama, is to bring 
the bodily functions more or less under 
control and to purify the body. Among 
other means this is secured by exercise of 
yoga and self-discipline. Xhey also insist on 
the necessity of a guru. 


Dual division into the Spiritually 
Right and Wrong. 

Section 1. Dual division of the Gunas, 

Corresponding to the Spiritual 

and the Worldly. 

The Hindu philosophers make another 
dual division or distribution of the gunas 
by which the $(Lttwik state is put in con- 
trast with the rdjasik and the tdmaszk states 
put together. The s&ttwik state ; is the 
spiritual state, and both the r&jasik and the 
jfdmasik states are the worldly. The s&ttwik 
state is called that ofjnana or sat, the, two 
others together is called the state of ajnana 
or asat. The s&ttwik condition alone 
constitutes what is spiritually right ; 
whereas, what is morally right includes also 
the sattwa-r&jasik which however is spiri- 
tually wrong. 

Thus upon this division is founded the 
sense of right and wrong spiritually. For, 
the spiritual sense of right and wrong, accor- 


ding to the Hindus, is that, one should be 
purely s&ttwik without any tinge of akank&ra 
of self. Accordingly, even a sattwa-r&ja$ik 
act, i. <?., an act of dharma from motives 
of selfish benefit, will not be spiritually 
right according to the Hindu system. The 
Geeta describes the qualities of fnana and 
calls the opposite qualities to be those of 

The essential feature tfjnana, as already 
shown before, in discussing the triple divi- 
sion of consciousness, is the perception of " 
the moral and spiritual order of the universe. 
The perception of the moral and spiri- 
tual order of things necessarily leads to 
bhakti (faith). Accordingly, among the quali- 
ties of fnana, bhakti has a prominent place. 
One who has genuine faith in the God of 
love, naturally feels himself as an atom of 
-dust before Him and before His created 
beings. Hence, humility and unassum- 
ingness are elements of fnana. He will 
also feel a sense of nothingness about the 
worldly pleasures, discipline his body and 
mind, behave towards his neighbours w l ith 


love and forbearance, thus will possess 
sympathy, forgiveness and simplicity, 
naturally be inclined to prefer places fit 
for contemplation, will not like to mix with 
miscellaneous crowds, and will keenly feel 
the evils of birth and death, decrepitude 
and disease and of misery. 

The above mentioned twenty qualities 
are qualities of jnana or of the sattwa 

An act ofjnana is called sat, and the 
reverse is called asat. 

"26, The term sat is applied to the 
state of being substantial and right, and to 
the state of spirituality, as well as to good 
and broad-hearted acts." * 

"27.. The term is also applied to being 
employed in sacrifice and penance as well 
as to the acts incidental thereto/' t 

11 H^ n 

Slokaszd & 27, Chap. XVII Geeta* 


It needs hardly be said that the terms 
sat and asat are often degraded from this 
s&ttwik sense to mean only the worldly 
moral distinction between the two phases 
of the raja gnna. But it has been thought 
fit to apply only the terms dharma and 
adharma, or nyaya and any ay a, to denote 
this latter distinction, as these terms are 
usually used to indicate this distinction. 

It should be noticed that in the division 
into what is spiritually right and spiritually 
wrong, while jnana with its necessary con- 
comitants bhakti or dhyana and sraddka 
is on one side, the manas as associated with 
sensuality is on the other side. The mdna- 
sik state of consciousness has been described 
before. It virtually consists of the things 
mentioned in the Geeta as follows : 

"Longing, aversion, pleasure and pain, 
a, consciousness between action and reaction, 
and imagination." * 

Sloka 6, Chap. XIIL 


The highest spiritual state, which is often 
described as a state above all the three 
gunas, is, in reality, the state of absolute 

Says the Geeta : 

"45. The matter of the Vedas is that 
of triple gunas. But thou dear Arjiina 
be above the triple gunas" 

Section 2. Division into Jnana and Ajnana, 
illustrated by texts. 

This dual division into jnana and 
ajnana, or sat and asat, by which the sattwa 
gnna is placed on one side and the other 
two gunas together on the other, is illustra- 
ted and emphasized by the Hindu authors 
in various ways. The qualities of mind 
which constitute the sdttwik character are 
called the daivik (divine), as contradistin- 

>.a 4.5, Chap. IL 


guished from the dsurfk qualities constitut- 
ing the rdjasik and the tamasik characters. 
The Bhagavat Geeta has the following : 
"6. There are two sorts of character in 
the world, the daivik and the dmrik" * 

The following slokas describe the daivik 
or the sdttwik character. 

."i. Fearlessness, purity of mind, dis- 
position to spiritual knowledge, charity, self- 
restraint, sacrifice, study of self, discipline 
and simplicity." tl 

"2 & 3. Freedom from envy, from 
anger, from animality, from greed, from 
effrontery, and from arrogance, truthfulness, 
abstinence, composure, kindness to all, 
mildness, shame at failing, energy, forgive- 
ness, power of comprehension, cleanliness 

*. * 

Slokas 6 & jr, Chap.XVL 


and inoffensiveness, are the qualities of 
those born under daivik influences." * 

The dsurik qualities are described as 

(i). In brief 

"4. Arrogance, pride, conceit, anger, 
roughness and want of higher perception." t. 

(ii). In detail 

"7. The creatures, of an dsurik ten- 
dency know no positive and no negative 
duty, nor cleanliness, nor purity of behavi- 
our, nor truthfulness." fl 

"8. They believe the world as fiction, 
recognize no Lord of it, regard it as 



, Chap. XVL Geeta* 


created by mere contact of couples being 
the result of mere carnal passion. * 

"9. Taking this view these little- 
minded creatures become causes of distur- 
bance, injury and destruction," t 

"i.o. Being possessed by passions which 
can never be satisfied and full of arrogance 
and boast, and being mastered by a belief 
that God can be bullied into granting 
prosperity by means of mantras^ they 
proceed on with impure heart*" t 

"ii & 12. Up to death, full of endless 
anxiety, they pursue objects of attachment 
and passion, and concluding that the enjoy- 
ment of objects of sensual pleasure is the 
end of life, they become enchained to a 




thousand expectations and they devise means 
of earning wealth, just as men overmastered 
by attachment and impatience would do."* 

This dual division into spirituality and 
nonspirituality (jnana and ajnand) is further 
illustrated by the slokas of the Geeta, in 
which the descending course of the viskayi 
(worldly) and the ascending course of the 
sanjami ( the spiritually disciplined ) are 

(i). The condition of the viskayi : 
"62. Those who contemplate objects- 
of sense get attached to those objects. From< 
this attachment grows "kdma (sensual desire), 
and from kdma proceeds krodha ( loss o : 
temper )" t 

: 111? II 

Slokas, ii &I2, Chap. XVI. - 

Sloka 6z, Chap II< Geeta*. 


"63. From krodha proceeds moka (In- 
fatuation), and from infatuation confusion 
of memory. From loss of memory grows 
loss of understanding, and from loss of 
understanding comes ruin of the man." * 

**66. He has no sense who is not self- 
concentrated, neither has he kindly feelings. 
From want of kindly feelings there is no 
peace, and he who has no peace has no 
happiness." t 

"67. He, whose mind courses over the 
senses and follows them, has his understand- 
ing drowned, as a boat In the ocean is sunk 
by the wind." * 

(ii) The condition of the sanjami : 



Slokas, 63,66 & 67, Chap. II 

'..; ' . ' ' .' ' . Geeta, 


'"64; The man who Is self-controlled 
attains tranquillity at the same time that he 
enjoys the objects of sense ; for, he enjoys 
them without any passion or excitement." * 

"65. From tranquillity all griefs vanish, 
and his buddhi (understanding) is soon fairly 
seated." f 

68. Therefore know, that he, whose 
senses are completely under control, has his 
sound judgment and insight firmly establi- 
shed." w 

"69. Where others find darkness the 
sanjami (self-controlled man) finds broad 
day and vice versa" 

t ^rmf?r 

, 64, & 65, 68 & 69 Chap, "II. \~-Geeta. 


Section 3, Right and Wrong Morally 
and Spiritually. 

It has been shown that the standard of 
worldly right, takes in not only the sattwa 
jrunabut also one-half of the rajaguna. But 
the standard of the spiritually right takes 
.nothing of thefyafa guna in it. The leading 
idea in the Hindu mind is that of the spiri- 
tually right. This is simply shown on re- 
ference to any Hindu philosophical work. 

Says the Geeta 

"27. Owing to the distinctions caused 
"by the influx of desire and hatred (product 
of raja guna) all creatures are confounded.*** 

"28. But those persons, who by conti- 
nual good work have risen above vicious 
tendencies, worship Me with w unshaken 
-devotion." t 



S/o&as* 27 & 28 Chap. VII. 


Thus to enjoy the pure blessing of wor- 
shipping God with the entire heart, one 
must have his desires merged in pure 

Says the Geeta 

The following lines from Cowper may be 
aptly quoted here as an equivalent to the 
above : 

''Happy the man who sees a God employed 
In all the good and ill that chequer life ! 
Resolving all events, with their effects 
And manifold results, into the will 
And arbitration wise of the Supreme." 

"i 6. -He is the beloved of Me, who is 
Independent, pure, diligent, free from bias 
and anxiety, and who has given up all 
selfish efforts."* 

Sloka 16, Chap, %IIs~~ 


"5. One who is free from vanity and 
infatuation, who has risen above attachment 
to the senses, who is always in a state of 
spirituality, who has got himself above all 
cravings, who is free from distractions of 
pleasure and pain, such a one, not being 
in the possession of ignorance and confution, 
is blessed with the touch of His holy foot/'* 

In fact, it is axiomatic with the Hindus 
that, only the acts of the sdttwik i, e n of 
the person who centers all his affection in 
the God of love, are spiritually right ; and 
that the acts of the rdjasik person, who 
follows his own desires and aversions, are 
not spiritually right. But such desires and 
aversions may be of the higher phase of 
raj. a guna which approaches the satiwaguna, 
and thus they may be morally right. 

Sloka 5, Chap. XV< 


Section 4. The Spiritually Right and 

Wrong, or Jnana and Ajnana, 

or Sat and Asat. 

THE worldly moral distinction, as ex- 
plained before is based upon a lower and 
more relaxed basis. It may be repeated 
that in what is spiritually right or s&ttwik 
there must be an utter abnegation of self 
and an unconditional surrender to the Sup- 
reme Will. But in what is merely morally 
right, there may be selfishness, provided it 
is not hurtful to society. And whether a 
particular thing is hurtful to society or not 
has to be determined by a sense of expedien- 
cy or by public opinion. Again, what is 
sdttwik, or spiritually right, is realized spon- 
taneously and freely through divine commu- 
nion. But what is raja-sdttwik, or morally 
right, has to be more or less enforced by 
social opinion. Therefore, it is that the 
question of what is s&ttwik, or spiritually 
right, is commonly made by the Hindus the 
subject of their philosophical works, while 
the question of what is morally or socially 
right is left to the dharma sk&stras alone. 


It goes without saying that an act done 
in an absolutely disinterested manner as a 
s&ttwik duty is purer and higher than an act 
done from a selfish point of view, and as a 
duty influenced by rdjasik considerations. 

Hence, the cultivation of the sattwa 
guna dispenses with the necessity of a mere 
moral culture. The sdttwik needs no 
dharma sk&stra to guide him. He is above 
the necessity of any social or public opinion 
to keep him within proper limits. In short, 
the cultivation of the sattwa guna goes to 
the very root of the whole thing. Hence 
the great anxiety of the Hindus to cultivate 
the sattwa guna by utter extinction of sel- 

But it may be said that the principle of 
the sattwa guna is theoretically very good. 
But it is incapable of being reduced to prac- 
tice. This, however, is only true as regards 
the extreme limit of the sattwa guna, It is 
almost impossible to extinguish absolutely 
all tinge of selfishness. But if the element of 
selfishness is oiinimized and made subservient 
to the moral and spiritual order of things, that 


is practically attaining the s&ttwik or the 
spiritual state. It is not impossible to attain 
such a stage. In fact, to those who are 
sincerely religious, the attainment of this 
stage is easy enough. It is certainly easy 
to one who can realize the truth expressed 
in the following verses of the Geeta: 

The following passage from Moore may 
be quoted herein the place of the transla- 
tion of the above. 

"Thou art O God ! The life and light 

Of all the wondrous world we see ; 
Its glow by day, its smile by night, 

Ate but reflections caught from Thee," 

Nor it is difficult to him whose heart 
swells at the beauties and wonders im- 
pressed by God upon nature, 

Slokas, 7 6* 8 Chap. VIL Geeta. 
Sloka //, Chap. XL Geeta, 


The above is equivalent in substance to 
the following from Milton ; 

"These are Thy glorious works, Parent of Good, 
Almighty, Thine this universal frame, 
Thus wondrous fair; Thyself how wondrous then!" 

For those who have in their hearts the 
image of a Loving Incarnate God ever 
present, and who can sincerely address 
Him as the sweet Lord of their hearts, the 
path towards the attainment of the sattwa 
guna is the easiest. 

Thus the cultivation of the s&ttwaguna 
is by no means inpracticable. The Hindu 
writers demonstrate the necessity of it by 
showing that it is the only means of freeing 
man from karma bandha or the wheel of 
action and reaction. 

The cultivation of the sattwa gnna very 
much depends on the assistance of a spiri- 
tual guide and the company of s&ttwik men. 

It is only to him who has succeeded in 
attaining the sattwa guna, that the expres- 
sion, 'he is a guide unto himself, may be 
applied. Hence it is, that in other cases the 
Hindu writers constantly insist on the 


necessity of a spiritual teacher. The subject 
of the necessity of a gurii (spiritual guide) 
will be treated a little more fully in another 

Section 5. Duty Determined by One's 

Says the Geeta : 

"45. Man attains thorough success, each 
following his own work. How men devoted 
to their own works, attain thorough sue* 
cess is related below/ 1 * 

"46. If men worhip Him by Whom all 
creatures are moved to action, by doing the 
works which fall to their respective lots 
they attain to spiritual success."* 

: f%fl* W fa*$fa WQ 118*11 

IJff: Ilf%^fTFTt 

Slokas 45 & 46 Chap, XVIII. 


''47. If a man does work of an indiffer- 
ent quality, which is within his own sphere 
that is better than that which though ex- 
cellently executed is within the sphere of 
another. A man cannot fall into sin by doing 
that which nature assigns to him to do." * 

"48. The work which easily and naturally 
sits on one should not be avoided, even if 
it is not perfect ; for, every work in the 
world is attended with defect as fire is 
attended with smoke/' t 

These verses teach that a man should be 
content with doing the best that he can do 
under the circumstances in which he stands. 
One should never forget his own position, 
It may well be that he sees another occupying 
a better position than himself and doing bet- 
ter things than what he is called on do. But 



Slokas 47 & 48, Chap. XVHLGeeta. 


that should not tempt his ambition. For 
himself, he must first of all be true to his 
own situation. Of course, if he can alter 
that situation for a better one, he may try. 
But, for the time being, he must do his duty 
looking to his present position; The fable 
has it that a frog aspiring to acquire the 
bulk of a bull, only brought on his death by 
making frantic efforts; 

In fact, there are many important things 
including one's caste calling and profession, 
the form and shape of which are indifferent 
to the true progress of a man. What is neces- 
sary to make a man great is to raise himself 
morally and spiritually, whether he is a 
sweeper or Pariah that does not stand in the 
way of his greatness. One ought to look to 
the essence of the things and not to forms. 


The means and. forms of Moral and 
Spiritual culture. 

Section I. The general principle of 
Sattwik culture. 

The mode of acquiring the satt-wa gunct 
is laid down by the Bhagavat Geeta in a 
very simple form. That mode is this. 
'Surrender yourself, as much as you can, to 
the Supreme Will, in right earnest, and busy 
jrourself with work without any selfish object, 
then you will do what is right and s&ttwik: 
This is put in various shapes in the Geeta.* 

Later on, the principle is put down as 
follows : 

"ii. The self-controlled men (yukta) 
do work with all the powers of their body, 
mind and soul, and with the means of the 
uninfatuated senses, for the sake of self-puri- 

See, for instance, Verse 30, Chap. ///. 


Sloka ir, Chap, V. Geeta. 


"12. They thus obtain the peace which 
results from faith, having renounced all 
selfish objects (karma-pkala). Whereas, 
those, who are led by selfish desires (kdma) 
and are attached to selfish objects, find them- 
selves hopelessly bound up with and stuck 
to, the consequences of their works."* 


"60. The senses are misleading and they 
misdirect the mind . ; therefore subdue them* 
and be self-controlled, devoting yourself 
completely to Me." t 

In the Concluding Chapter 

"56. Do all works and at all times 
under My shelter, and then by My Grace < 
you will be saved. "* 

Sloka 12, Chap. V.Geefa* 


In other places also the Geeta says in 
effect : 

'If you surrender yourself wholly and 
unconditionally to the Supreme Will, you 
will acquire mokska or freedom from the 
consequences of karma, that is from the 
consequences of the law that inflicts pain or 
pleasure according to one's merits'. 

In short the above is the watch-word of 
the Geeta throughout the work. 

The question may be put : supposing 
one surrenders himself to God and eschews 
all selfish motives, how is he to distinguish 
between what he should do and what he 
.should not do ? The answer is, where there 
is a will, there is a way. If you are determin- 
ed to do what is right, and with that deter- 
mination you divest yourself of all prejudice 
and passion, you will easily hit upon the 
right thing. And it must be remembered 
that such a determination presupposes the 
possession of/nana, which means the power 
of perceiving things clearly. 

Besides, of what consequence is it if one 
with such pure motive falls into a mistake 


in choosing his action ? Mistake would not 
affect his moral position. 

The above method, taught by the Geeta, 
no doubt requires religious faith. But there 
is no reason why one should be without 
religion. One can at least be a Buddhist, 
worshipping the First Great Principle of 
moral and spiritual order. The only diffe- 
rence between the case of a Buddhist and 
a believer in and worshipper of a Personal 
God is this : the latter finds it easy to 
surrender himself to one Whom not only he 
worships but loves as a dear one ; whereas 
the former finds it somewhat difficult to 
surrender himself to an Impersonal Being. 

Section 2. Success or Failure. 

ONE great test whether a man does an 
act disinterestedly as a piece of pure duty, or 
interestedly for some selfish object is this. 
Ask yourself the question : 'Should I have 
given up the work if I had known it to be 
wrong ? If you find that you can answer 
the question in the affirmative, then 


know that you are doing it sincerely as duty. 
Another test is to ask yourself the ques- 
tion : 'Supposing circumstances [which means 
the Will of God] prevent the success of the 
work, should I be filled with grief? 1 If you 
can answer this question in the negative, 
it will show that you were not acting under 
the influence of any selfish passion but from 
a pure sense of duty. For, duty means 
what is done as due to God. And if He is 
pleased not to make it successful, it is no- 
concern of yours. 

Says the Geeta 

"47* Work is within your province and 
not the fruit (success or failure) of it." * 

What the Geeta has in the above passage 
is the same as the saying 'Man proposes, 
God disposes/ 

It may be said that, when one has no 
passion for a thing and constantly keeps 
before his view the chances of his failure, his 
act will be a half-hearted act and will be 


Sloka 4.7, Chap, //, 


wanting in earnestness. The answer is, that 
a man may well be bent upon the success of 
an act, but, at the same time may be fully 
prepared for the failure of it and ready to 
give it up in the event of its turning out to 
be wrong. If he is so prepared, that will 
show that he is not inevitably and irresistibly 
attached to the result of the work as a thing 
which he wants for himself. It is 'such 
attachment to the result of a work 1 that is 
called sanga or karma-phalasankalpa. This 
sanga or karma-phala-sankalpa proceeds 
from a selfish passion for the thing, and is 
deprecated by the Hindu writers. The 
Bhagavat Geeta insists on the necessity of 
giving up sanga or karma-phala-sankalpa 
from the beginning to the end of it. 

As regards the objection, that by giving 
up sanga, or the inevitable and irresistible 
attachment to the thing, one cannot be ear- 
nest about it, a little consideration will show 
that the objection is groundless. For, when 
one sets himself to a work prepared to bear 
the failure of it and to desist from it, should 
it turn out to be wrong, he feels himself to 


be the master of his situation. He is free 
from all nervousness and misgivings. Be- 
sides he takes a view of the opposite side 
of the question dispassionately and prepares 
himself against all the short-comings on 
his side. In short, in the case of a man 
prepared for failure and ready to withdraw 
from it, if necessary, it cannot be said that, 
he has no desire for the success of the act. 
Really the desire is within his control, and 
he is not within the control of the desire. 
That being all the difference, there is no 
reason why there ishould be any lack of 
earnestness on his part. On the contrary, 
the earnestness is increased. Want of sanga 
or karma-pkala-sankalpa decreases not ear- 
nestness but impatience. It also brings 
on no disappointment Thus, the giving 
up of sanga [the inevitable -and irresistible 
desire of getting a thing carried out] is the 
means of breaking the chain of karma- 
bandha* It is not followed by disappointment 
and irritation, and it is not the beginning 
of a lengthertlng chain of anxious and rest- 
less action and reaction. 


Section 3, The Six Ripus. 

THERE are various popular methods 
taught by the Hindu sages for moral and 
spiritual culture. The manner in which the 
principle of dama, yama and sama are fami- 
liarized, is of great use in this direction. 
These principles, however, are too high to- 
be appreciatively practical But the enu- 
meration of certain qualities of mind, which 
are adverse to moral and spiritual progress 
giving them the name and character of ene- 
mies (ripus), is highly valuable. 

The riplis- or enemies are : 

i. KAma, 2. Krodha, 3. Lobha> 4. 
Moha, 5. Mada, and 6. M&tsarya, gener- 
ally meaning, respectively, i. sensual de- 
sires, 2. ill-temper, 3. liability to tempation 
4, confusion and infatuation, 5. an inflated 
sense of one's self, and 6. ill-feeling towards 

In dealing with the subject of the riptt$> 
the first question is what is a ripH- ? It is 
an enemy ; but enemy from what point of 
view ? It has been shown that there are 
two standards the spiritual and the moral 


standard ; that there is the spiritual sense 
of right and wrong, and the moral sense 
of right and wrong. The spiritual sense 
-excludes all from the category of right, that 
is tinged with selfishness or ahank&ra. The 
moral sense includes one-half of the things 
.marked with selfishness or akank&ra. To 
which of these two is a ripu hostile ? 

The answer is difficult to give. It 
would depend upon the meaning to be atta- 
ched to each of the ripus. 

If kdma is used only in the aggravated 
sense of low and wicked passion, foodha in 
the sense of rage and vindictiveness, lobha 
in the sense of being subject to evil tempta- 
tions, moka in that of vicious Infatuation, 
mada in that of insulting bragging, and 
m&tsarya in the sense of malicious- hatred, 
then the ripus are things hostile not only 
to the spiritual sense of right but to the 
worldly moral sense of right also* For, in 
the above senses the ripils are all and each 
of them embodiments, at the best, of the 
tama-r&jasik tendencies, as opposed to the 


But if Jcdma be taken in the large sense 
of being selfish desire harmful or not, 
krodka of anger and impatience moderate 
or otherwise, lobka of being subject to evil 
or harmless temptations, moha of confusion 
and stupefaction simply, mada of pride and 
vanity, and m&tsarya of envy and emulation, 
then the ripus are things hostile to the 
spiritual sense of right and not necessarily to 
the worldly moral sense of right. 

Be that as it may, these six things are 
popularly known and called as enemies, to 
urge the necessity of not being conquered 
by them. They are enemies who must 
not conquer you. But if you have con- 
quered them, you may make them serve you. 
When conquered, they are not enemies. 
For, if not all, at least some of the enemies 
are very useful when under subjugation, 
such as krodka and sometimes even k&ma 
and mada. Krodha under subjugation is just 
indignation ; Icdma subdued may be pure and 
innocent enjoyment ; and mada In control 
may be merely innocent pride even associa- 
ted with humility. When they are thus 

"" 9 .- "V . ' -- , ''-. ' '.'-" "": '.' 


conquered enemies, they may sometimes 
be entirely divested of the raja and tamo. 
gunas and invested with the sattwa guna. 

In the passage quoted before from 
Mah&bh&rata (S&nti-parva, Section 254), in 
the allegory of K&ma-tarii, the ripiis have 
places among the limbs and the surroun- 
dings of the taril (tree). 

The Bhagavat Geeta reduces the number 
of ripUs to two, Jkdma and krodka. In fact, 
Jcdma is, in one sense, comprehensive enough 
to include all the ripils. 

"37. K&ma and 'krodka are born of raja 
gnna and are limitless in their way and ex- 
ceedingly depraving. Know them to be ene- 


"38.. As the fire is covered with smoke, 
the mirror with dust, and a watery hole with 
water, so does a man get covered with 
these." t 


Slokas, 37 & j<y Chap, HLG&ta. 


"39- This perpetual enemy of jnana, in 
the shape of Mma, never to be satisfied, be- 
clouds it."* 

"40. All the senses and the mind, are 
the seats of kdma. It confounds them by 
darkening the true spiritual sense (jnana ) 
of man."t 

"41. Therefore first of all regulate the 

senses, and know passion to be vicious and 

destructive of the true sense (jnana} of man." t 

"42. Over the senses is the manas, over 
the manas is the buddhi, and over the buddki 
is the dtmd" 

qf 5^ 

Slokas 39-42, Chap. Ill Geeta. 


43. Therefore, knowing the dtmd to be 
superior even to buddhi, by means of the 
Atmd conquer that utmost unconquerable 
enemy in the shape of kdma [selfish desire 
or passion]." 

The formula of the six ripus is taught 
universally among the Hindus. The effect 
of such teaching is very salutary. 

Section 4. The six Sattwik attributes, 

The Mah&bhSrata mentions, contentment ; 
freedom, from grief, from attachment and from 
envy ; peacefulness and cheerfulness ; as the 
six attributes, the possession of which makes. 
one complete and full 1 " 

The following six attributes may also be 
placed against the six ripus : 

i. Dama (control), 2. yama (regulation)., 

Sloka> 4& Chap. IILGeeta, 

f See the extract already made from Santi-parva,, 



3. sania (adjustment), 4. dayd (fellow-feel- 
ing). 5. d&kskinya (liberality), and 6. dkarma 

Dama,yama and sama have been referred 
to elsewhere. They are means of self-culture 
and of moral and spiritual education and are 
the antidotes of Jcdma, krodka, lobha and 


The following qualities enumerated by the 
Geeta, as composing jnana may be aptly said 
to be the results of danta, yama, and sama: 

" Aversion to self-applause, arrogance 
and mischievousness ; patience and simpli- 
city ; reverence to teachers ; firmness ; self- 
restraint ; indifference to objects of the 
senses ; freedom from pride ; to look upon 
as evils, subjection to birth, death, decay, 
disease and ailment ; freedom from attach- 
ment and affection, to children, wife and 
home * unchanging and even-minded in 
respect to good and evil, that may turn 
up ; absolute faith in Me with undiverted 
concentration; seeking places used for con- 
templation ; dislike to general society ; con- 
stancy in spiritual knowledge and study for 


ultimate truth. These are Jnana as distin- 
guished from Ajnana" * 

Dayd, ddkskinya and dharma hardly re- 
quire any comment. They are, respectively, 
charity, fellow-feeling and justice, and are 
opposite to mada and mdtsarya. 

The Bhagavat Geeta does not make it 
a point to enumerate virtues in the shape of 
commandments. To do so would have been 
reducing the moral qualities to a formula, 
and a formula never does serve the purpose, 

It lays down two principles for moral im- 



ii 1 1 it 

Slokas,? // C7^ XIILGeeta* 


provement, a negative principle and a posi- 
tive principle. 

The positive principle is to surrender 
one's will completely and unconditionally to 
the Supreme Will. The negative principle 
is to eschew all selfishness and avoid all bias 
towards the gross things which tempt one. 

In enunciating the second principle, the 
Geeta more than once points out that, if yon 
suppress your selfish propensities, nature will 
work by itself in the right direction and you 
may well yield yourself to nature. " Men 
must need do work by force of nature." * 


" One who distinguishes between his 
own agency and the agency of nature, and 
between guna and karma (work), well knows 
that gun&$ follow gunas (nature follows 
nature), and he will thus be free from gett- 
ing himself stuck to a thing. " t 




Now, passages like the above are often 
misunderstood. They are frequently perver- 
ted to support theories of epicureanism. It 
is often argued, from passages like the above 
that the Geeta does not prevent one from 
sinking into animal pleasures, only if they 
would come of themselves, 

This misunderstanding arises from con- 

founding the two senses in which the word 

prakriti (nature) is used. The word prakriti 

is used in a higher sense, and also in a 

lower sense. 

In the lower sense of the word, it is used 
! to signify savikdraprakriti (vitiated nature). 
In this sense prakriti is to be controlled. 

The Geeta enumerates the senses and 
other things as constituting samk&ra Tcsketra 
(objective substances), which are to be con- 
trolled by the kskeiragna or the subjective 

SZokas, s &6, Chap. XJIL 


In the higher sense of the word prakriti, 
it means the highest spiritual nature of 
things. By the Geeta swabhdva (nature) 
is defined to be the spiritual character of 
things (Adkydtma).* 

Thus when the Geeta says, withdraw 
your selfish tendencies and let nature follow 
nature, it means let saviMra or diseased 
nature be replaced by pure and healthy 
nature. In other words, it means that, so 
long as the lower nature is allowed to occupy 
your mind or soul, the higher nature is out. 
But vacate the mind of this lower nature and 
the higher nature will come and fill it. 

Section 5, The four Bargas. 

THE four bargas exhibit a classification 
of objects of pursuit: i. K&ma (pleasure), 
2. Artha (gain), 3. Dharma (meritorious 
acts), 4. Mokska (salvation). Sometimes this 
classification is used with reference to. 

ffcf i}<J 




different forms of sdd&and and bha]an& 
(devotional and religious practices). 
But it is more useful here to use the classi- 
fication with regard to objects of pursuit. 
It should be observed that the object of 
pursuit does not necessarily indicate the 
character of the pursuit, as to whether it is 
sdttwik, rdjasik, or t&masik. It is the motive 
of the pursuit that determines its spiritual or 
moral character. The same thing may be 
sought for the most selfish and the most 
wicked purpose, as well as for the purest 
and the most noble purpose. 

Attending to dharma, arthd, and kdma, 
with- an -interested motive is called rdjasik 
attention. * 

Where, however, attention is directed to 
them to secure moral and spiritual harmony 
of action, it is sdttwik. t 

s, 34 & 33* Chap.XVIIL^ Geeta, 
See also Sloka 23, Chap, XVIIL-guoUdinp. ^ 


Thus when &dma or pleasure is sought 
under the influence of a passion, or selfish 
craving for it, the act of seeking it is 
imbued with the raja guna. If the passion 
or craving for it completely upsets the 
man and it is sought in a state of con- 
fusion and infatuation, then it becomes a 
t&masik act. If again a pleasure is sought 
and indulged in, in a pure and untempted 
state of mind, as a gift and blessing of 
the kind Povidence, it becomes a s&ttwik 
act. - 

So also with regard to 'artka. If one sets 
himself to earn money, passionately identi- 
fying his existence with the acquisition, it 
becomes an effect of raja guna.. But if a 
man tries to earn money from a pure sense' 
of duty to himself and to his family, or to 
the society he belongs to, he is led by a 
sdttivzA. purpose. Similarly with regard to. 
dharma or works enjoined by the sh&stras.* 

Moksha or salvation is beyond the scope 
of the subjects proposed to be treated 

* See-\Bhagavai,Geeta,^Chap.'X-VJIl^ 
the verses already quoted from it. 


in this book. It falls in the sphere of re- 
ligion. That a defined class of acts may 
be s&ttwik, r&jasik or tdmasik, from the frame 
of mind with which they are done, has been 
shown at somewhat great length In the 
previous pages by quotations from the 
'Geeta. The passages regarding donation 
alone will put the subject beyond all doubt. 
The Geeta describes in them the three 
kinds of donation. s&ttwik, rdfasik and 
tdmasik* In all the three kinds of donation, 
the physical act of gift is the same. The 
motives, and the circumstances attending it, 
are different ; and it is owing to this diffe- 
rence that the donation in one case is 
sdttwik, in another rAjasik and in another 
t&nm$ik* Of course, there may be cases 
of acts, in which the motive being fixed, 
invariably they are only impressed with one 
prevailing guna. But such cases are rare, 
Again, it is distinctly said that, 

"25.. Things that are done by persons 

See slokas 20-22 Chap, X VI L quoted before 
> 4.6. 


who are freed from passions, for the sake of 
humanity. * 

This is an observation which shows that 
very often the acts are indifferent. It Is the 
state of mind and motive, with which they 
are done, that make them good or bad. If" 
they are done as an offering to God, that is 
without any longing for selfish benefit, they 
are $&ttwik ; if they are done with a longing 
for a selfish benefit, they are rdjasik ; and 
if, with feelings to injure and confound,, 
they are tdmasik. t 

Section 6. The three kinds of Tribu- 
lation or the Tri-tapa. 

TRIBULATION is of three kinds. Hdkydt- 
mik, fadkidaivik and fadhibhautik. The 

WTOT .* i 

1c R5Rnff3fi 


tribulation that arises from one's own state 
of mind or of soul is Adky&tmik, that which 
arises from unseen higher agencies is Adhi- 
daivik, and that which arises from the visible 
material world is Adhibkautik. In short, the 
evils that spring from one's own self are 
AdhyAtmik, those from forces higher than 
self are Adkidaivik> and those from the lower 
forces of the material world are bdhibhautik. 

This threefold division of /<$/#, or tribu- 
lation, corresponds to the division of the 
three gunas. Misery, according* to the 
rdjaszk view of it, is punishment for sin, 
But according to the sAttwik view, misery 
is remedial In this latter view, it is fitly 
termed tribulation or tApa* 

Now, whether misery and suffering be 
regarded as penal or remedial, there is no 
doubt that one's own mind or soul is the 
chief source of it The Mhidawik and the 
'fadhibhauttk evils are, to a great extent, 
minimized, if the Adky&imik source of evils 
is lessened. 

If a man has the sattwa guna fully deve- 
loped in himself, and is in touch and har- 


niony with the spiritual forces of the world, 
he has hardly to feel the visitations of 
ddhidaivik evils. So also he is subjected 
to but a minimum of physical or ddhibkautzk 
evils. For, habitually being free from the 
iama guna, his caution and care and the 
command he acquires over the material 
world would save him generally from many 
a physical evil, 

Therefore, the ddky&tmik evil deserves 
the greatest consideration of all. This kind 
of evil is specially the consequence of what 
is known as 'karma-bandha. It is the effect 
'of the raja gnna ( the self-centering ten- 
dency ). The rajaguna, when associated 
with the tama guna, fills the cup of ddhyat- 
mik. evil. 

The cure of the Adkydtmik evil, is the 
cultivation of the sattwa guna, and the 
acquisition of a habit of perfect reliance on 
the Loving God of the soul, and practice 
of such religion as makes one love Him 
with all his heart. 


Certain Topics Incidental to Moral and 
Spiritual Culture. 

Section 1. Moral and Spiritual, 

THE Hindu s&dstras generally direct 
the ignorant and the young to avail of 
moral and spiritual instruction from the 
wise. Says the Geeta. 

"34. Learn/#tf#0'by obeisance, queries 
and ingratiating service. Those who are 
wise and experienced in philosophical truths, 
will teach youjnana" * 

Then again having enumerated the 
different processes by which some persons 
can themselves realize the spirit within, the 
Geeta says the following : 

"25. Others, who are ignorant, worship 
and pray in the light of what they hear from 

1!^ H 


others. They also surmount the pangs of 
death following the instructions heard."* 
It also includes in physical service, wor- 
ship of \htgaril (spiritual guide) and the 
wise, which amounts to disciplinary hardship 

Instruction by &gurii helps one to acquire 
knowledge both of spiritual duties and of 
moral duties, /. e.. of purely sdttmk duties 
and of duties based on principles of worldly 
morality which are imbued with a mixture 
of sattwa-rdjasik tendency. But in the case 
of the former, one must be led thoroughly 
into the depths of -spiritual life m order to 
succeed ; while in the case of the latter, 
even by a degree of superficial knowledge, 
and following the opinions of respected 
persons, one may get success. Spiritual 

Sbka, 25, Chap. XIIL 



truths and duties must be realized in the 
heart. But moral truths and duties can be 
practised by merely understanding the 
expediency of them. Moral philosophy, 
being based upon a sense of expediency, 
can be well taught in a public school. But 
spiritual philosophy can only be taught by a 
giiru with whom a personal endearing rela- 
tionship has been established. In order to 
teach the science of worldly morals, the 
teacher has only to reach the intellect. But 
in order to teach spiritual philosophy, the 
teacher must reach the heart and mould it. 
Morality may be imparted by instruction, 
but spirituality can only be imparted by 
education properly so called* As with 
teachers, so with books. A book fitted to 
infuse spirituality, must be an inspired, book. 
Books, however, which have the object of 
merely laying down rules and regulations for 
the guidance of worldly conduct, may have 
no higher authority than that of being the 
works of wise men. These observations 
may explain why the Hindus make the 
distinction between spiritual and worldly 


gurus. It has been pointed out before, that 
spirituality consists in distinguishing bet- 
ween the sdttwik condition on the one hand, 
and the r&jasik and the tdmas'ik condition 
on the other, and that morality consists in 
making a distinction between the higher 
and the lower phases of the raja guna. 

There is another reason why, in spiritual 
matters, a gilrii is necessary to a Hindu, 
Spiritual truths and conceptions cannot be 
well expreseed by the terms of current 
vocabulary. Whenever a spiritual fact or 
spiritual conception is realized, the person 
who realizes it, gives it a name and locali- 
zation by adopting some syllable or letter of 
the alphabet or by some sign. The meaning 
of the symbol or sign is handed down from 
generation to generation, through successive 
guriis. Without a gilrii to explain and 
utilize the symbol or sign, the spiritual fact 
or conception is lost to the world for all 
purposes. The gurus are, as it were, 
moving and living dictionaries to explain 
the meanings of the symbols and signs. 


Section 2. Humility and Strength, 

The Geeta couples energy (tejas) with 
humility (ndtimdmtd) in one and the same 
line among the daivik or sdttwtk qualities.* 
Again it describes firmness and forwardness 
as among the attributes of a s&ttwzk action.t 

There is a certain kind of humility, 
which is of a tdmasik nature, consisting of 
an abject subserviency. But that is not true 
humility. Again humility is sometimes 
assumed. True humility proceeds from a 
sense of the limitless purity and power of 
God, compared with which, a man's purity 
and power is nothing. To one having this 
sense, all his brother-men who are sons of 
that God, are at least potentially great. So, 
he must feel a sincere respect for them. But 
he must be prepared not to be led" away by 

* isr: ispn; 'fir: ^ 

f^firerraref mm 11^11 

SMa 3, Chap. XVL 


Skka 26, 


their short-comings, or by any evil tendency, 
with which they may be imbued. The 
sacred saying of the Vaishnava dharma is : 
"That man truly pronounces the name of 
the Loving Lord, who is in fortitude like 
the trunk of a tree, and in humility like the 
blade of a grass ....... "* This sloka of the 

Mah&prabhifi of Nadia at once removes a 
current of misapprehension regarding the 
sattwa guna to the effect that, it implies 
feebleness and inaction. The two great 
characteristics of sattwa guna are to be 
strong like a lion in resisting evil and to be 
meek like a lamb in paying deference to 

The Bhagavat Geeta emphasizes the 
above characteristics of sattwa guna. "Do 
not show feebleness of purpose that does 
not befit you; Shake off narrowness and 
weakness of heart and rise like a hero/' 
These words were addressed by Sri Krishna 

t Sri Sri Chaitanya Deva. 


to Arjiina to pursuade him to do his duty 
by absolutely extinguishing self (selffulness) 
and surrendering himself to the Divine Will. 

Meekness consists in extinction of self 
(selffulness). But that requires strength. 
For, to extinguish selffulness, one must 
successfully resist the powerful promptings 
of the raja and tama guna. The sattw 
guna facilitates the aquisition of strength, 
because it directs a man to one single 
object the doing of His Will and thus 
produces singleness of purpose. 

Says the Geeta 

"The undeviating sense, involving the 
consciousness of duty, is one and single, 
while that of an opposite character is full of 
distractions/ 1 * 

Thus, the sattwa gnnu brings strength 
and fortitude at the same time that it brings 
the consciousness of nothingness in com- 
parison with the Power that pervades the 

Sloka $r, Chap IL 


In- short, unless a man has humility and 
meekness on the one hand, and strength 
and fortitude on the other, he cannot be said 
to possess the sattwa guna. 

Section 3. Character. 

It has been seen that in Chapter XVI 
the Geeta describes two kinds of character, 
the daivik and As&rik. There is, however, a 
third kind, v&., the paiskAchik. These three 
kinds of character correspond to the three 
gunas. However in this chapter the paish&cktk 
is partly included in the Asttrik and partly 
neglected as being too low for consideration. 
"it is said that those that are born under 
the influences ofjnanagtt the daivik charac- 
ter, and similarly those who are born under 
the influences of ajnana get the Asiirik cha- 

But no man can free himself absolutely 
from any of the three gunas. However 
good a man may be, on occasions he must 
relapse into the r&jasik, nay even into the 


t&masik state. For, by the laws of nature 
every individual is subject, more or less, to 
all the three gunas. Similarly, however bad 
a man may be, he must have some redee- 
ming features which come into play on parti- 
cular occasions. Thus, to speak accurately 
and with precision, good character cannot 
be described as made up of the sattwa 
guna alone. Ordinarily, the best character 
means, the character of a man, in whose 
life the sattwa. guna or sattwa-raja. guna 
is at the top, the rajas in the next place, 
and the raja-tamos or tamas in the lowest 
position. In other words, the man of the 
best character, is mostly influenced by 
the sattwa guna, on some occasion by the 
raja guna, and on a few occasions by 
the tama gnna. The converse is- the case 
with the worst character. Thus the man, 
in whose life the raja-sattwa guna, as 
contradistinguished from the tama-raja 
guna, predominates, is a good man ; while 


Sloka 4., Chap, XVI.- 6V>/,,. 


the man, in whose life the t&ma-raja 
guna predominates, is a bad man. But 
a man who is bad in one stage of his life, 
may turn out an excellent man in another 
stage, and so vice 'versa. Thus there is no 
wrong so indelible as to set down the cha- 
racter of a man as being absolutely or 
permanently bad- 

Section 4. Division of Labour. 

To practise a particular guna exclusively, 
is not the privilege of any particular class of 
men. A society may be guided by certain 
principles of labour. One class of men in a 
society may make a particular pursuit its 
speciality. For instance, the Brihmans made 
the pursuit of knowledge and moral culture 
their speciality in India, the Kshattriyas the 
military pursuit, the Vaisyas the acquisition 
of wealth, and the Sudras personal service. 
But the sattwa, raja and the tama guna are 
equally within the province of all. The 
Brihmans are expected to be more s&ttwtk 
than the other classes, the Kshattriyas more 



rfyasik. But that does not show that they 
can claim the monopoly of the one or the 
other guna. In fact, the works and the 
qualities which the Geeta mentions* as being 
respectively congenial to the four classes of 
the Hindu society, are such that they may be 
all sdttwik, and as such leading to perfection.t 
The castes are simply institutions foun- 
ded on the principle of division of labour, 
and, as such, they are in many respects 
advantageous to society. The circumstan- 
ces and the influences under which a man 
is born tend certainly to form his character. 
But a man is not destined to be the perma- 
nent victim of such influences. 

Another grand division of labour prevail- 
ing in the Hindu society, is that into the 

if ffcjft 


SIoka$, 43, 4.4, & 4.5 Chap .XVIII. 


worldly class on the one hand and the class- 
of yogis and sannydsins on the other. The 
worldly class must comprise the many, 
The yogis and the sanny&sins must be a few 
only. The development of the finer and the 
higher faculties of man is a task of the 
latter class while the ordinary pursuits of the 
world are the tasks of the former class. Of 
course, the yogis and the sannydsms are ex- 
pected purely to besdttwik. Yet they too are 
subject to the raja and the tamaguna in their 
own ways. An wordly man need not 
necessarily be less s&ttwik than a yogi or a 
sannydsin y though his temptations to fall are- 
so many that he can hardly expect to pre- 
serve such purity as a sannydsin can. The 
Geeta discusses the relative position of the 
two classes under the heads of karma-yoga* 
and $&nkkya-yoga. 

Section 5. The Field of Work of the Sattwik. 

The field for s&ttwik work is not limited. 
There are notions afloat, as has already 
been stated, that the field of s&ttwtk work 


is limited to matters of religion and aesthetics. 
These surely occupy a prominent place in the 
sphere of s&ttwik work. But they are not 
the only things of which s&ttwik works con- 
consist. It has already been pointed out, 
that the pursuit of culturing the soul by 
yoga and seclusion from the world, is an 
excellent division of labour. But the work 
of the world is by no means a mean work. 
Worldliness is bad, but not worldly work. 
The work of the world need not necessarily 
>be imbued with worldliness. Worldliness 
is selfishness. Worldly work may be 
divested of worldliness or selfishness, and 
then it becomes purely s&ttwtk work or 
pursuit of a pure duty. The Bhagavat Geeta 
teaches this in a most prominent and 
striking manner. It completely demolish- 
es the general misconception by which the 
satlwa guna is indentified with a delicate 
culture of the gentle and finer faculties of 
the mind only, and is considered divorced 
from bravery and manliness* So it has an 
exhortation in these words addressed . to 



"3. Do not be possessd by effeminacy, 
that does not suit you, cast off weakness of 
heart and narrowness of mind, and be up 
with your arms/'* 

The war in which Arjuna was engaged 
was one of the holiest of wars. Diiryodha- 
na and his party were not amenable to- 
moral persuations. They were, as it were, 
embodiments of selfishness and passion. 

They were oppressing the most guileless 
and the most honest of their relations. Any 
how, the war had been forced upon these 
latter. Arjuna was thereto fight, not for 
his own self, but for the cause of the right 
and for the protection of the injured and the 
innocent. He had assumed the command 
as an agent. He was bound to act faithfully., 
For him, in this situation, to allow consi- 
derations of personal unpleasantness or feel- 
ings of family endearment to unnerve him,. 


was clearly not only selfishness but confusion 
and weakness in the extreme. He was simply 
being swayed by raja guna and tama guna. 
So he was urged to wake himself up to the 
height of sattwa guna or pure sense of duty. * 
Arjiina was pleading that he should not take 
the lives of his dear relations. This was an 
earthly consideration. But no earthly con- 
siderations should prevail with one who is 
'doing his duty to the most High, and who 
ought to be completely under the influence of 
absolute sattwaguna. One, under the com- 
plete influence of the sattwa guna, is freed 
fasmkarma-bandha. Under that influence 
one does not care for the consequeces of his 
own acts. He is to throw all reponsibllity 
on God to whose will he has surrenderee! 
himself. Then God takes up, as if it were, 
the whole burthen. Accordingly, Arjiina 
is gently reprimanded as follows: 

4l ii. You regret that which should not 

118 *M1 
Sloka 45,~C/iap. //. Gate. 


be regretted, and are talking high. Know 
that the really wise grieves as little for the 
dead as for the living.* 

In modern times, if Washington had 
thrown up his arms while he was engaged in 
the War of Independence, what the world 
would have called him ? 

S&ttwik work, or pure and disinterested 
duty, knows no distinction of occasions or of 
forms. Whether the work is religious, mili- 
tary or charitable ; whether it is a work of 
self-preservation or of benevolence, a work 
which is pleasing or displeasing, a work of 
reward or punishment, whatever be its form 
or whatever be its occasion, if it be free from 
selfish stain, and if it be done from the pure 
motive of doing duty to the most High, it is 
a sditwik act, free from any consequences in 
the shape of karma-bandha. This is the 
teaching of Srimat Bhagavat Geeta and of 
Hindu philosophy generally. To conquer 

: n IB 

Slokaii, Chap* IL Geeta. 


the sense of self ( selffulness ) is the chief 
means of securing the s&ttwik state. 

Section 6. One survives the fatality of 

FATALITY is karma-bandka. When a. 
person, acting selfishly, i, e. by assertion of 
egotism, has bound up himself by his selfish 
works, he is bound to suffer the conesquen- 
ces of those works* In fact, he finds himself 
bound to those consequences as one is 
bound by a chain, 

He can free himself only by weaning 
himself out of the selfish tendency of his 
desired and by beginning a career of unselfish 
work by surrendering himself unconditional- 
ly to the Supreme will- 
But until he has done this, he is bound 
to the consequences of his acts. This con- 
stitutes fatality. It is seen that this fatality 
is not absolute, but conditional 

'. When the sons of ' Dhriiarftstra and 
.others would not free . thcttiselves *from the 


chains of karma-bandha, but were determi- 
ned to tread in the wake of their selfish pas- 
sions, they were fated to meet destruction 
and ruin.* 

But when one person suffers the conse- 
quences of his acts, should his fellow- 
brothers stand by and enjoy the spectacle ? 
Certainly not. They should, led by feelings 
of universal fellowship, do their duty disin- 
terestedly towards the person suffering. 
There may be cases, however, in which the 
duty of a person towards one suffering from 
his own karma-bandka> may be of a puni- 
tive character. He may find himself called 


Sloka$> 26 & 27, Chap. XL*Geeta 


on to chastize and punish rather than exter- 
nally to sympathize and attempt to succour 
the victim of Tcarma-bandka. 

Arjuna was in such ja position. Hence, 
he was called on to do his duty by fighting 
with his relations who were the victims of 
their passions. 

Now, in doing such a duty, as Arjiina 
was called on to do, it is a great help to know 
that the mischief, which one is called on. to 
do, under such circumstances, is momentary, 
and, in fact, remedial. 

However a man may be subjected to 
the evil effects of his own deeds, the soul is 
immortal* As his deeds were inspired by 
ephemeral causes, so his sufferings in conse- 
quencfe of them, are also temporary .t 

Sto&as, *8 & /#. Chap, IL^Geeta* 


The Geeta says the following, showing* 
that the mortal body is distinct from the 
immortal soul : * 

" As a man casts away his old garments 
and puts on another new set, likewise the 
owner of the body casts away his own worn 
out body and enters into a new one. Him 
no weapon can sever, no fire can burn, no 
water can wet and no air can dry; He is 
unseverable, unburnable, unwettable, and 
undryable, constant, universal, stable, unshif- 
ting and eternal; unmanifesting, incompre- 
hensible, incorruptible He is known to be* 


Therefore knowing it, it is not fit that thou 
shouldst mourn their apprehended loss/' 

Section 7. The Law of Karma-bandha. 

This big subject has been hitherto touch- 
ed only incidentally, It can be explained by 
an easy process. It is said that one lie leads 
to another! and so on. Thus it is with all 
selfish desires. One selfish desire leads to 
another and so on. At each step the man 
draws a lengthening chain. It is never 
absolutely cut short so long as selfish- 
ness is not absolutely removed. If one 
selfish desire is satisfied, it becomes the 
progenitor of another. If it is not satis- 
fied, it gets stronger and stronger by 
disappointment; so, in either case, there is 
no end of it. It may be that a train of sel- 
fish desires may reach a point at which a 
reaction is felt; But, even then, if the man 
has not been able to divest himself of sel- 
fishness, the reaction takes a new line of 


selfish desire, perhaps of an opposite kind 
to that first pursued; but it is all the same, * 
again a chain of selfish desires and of karma. 
This is known as the bondage ot karma or a 
selfish activity. Karma i.e. selfish activity 
never vanishes without leaving a mark or 
stain behind. In fact, it never dies without 
leaving a perpetual line of progeny, which 
multiplies at every step, and thus becomes 
almost an unbearable load to the man. 

Therefore, 'karma or selfish activity is 
is that which takes away the freedom of 
man. Hence the expression, the bondage 
of karma. This law of the bondage of 
.karma is deduced from observed facts as 
stated above. This being the law of 
bondage, what is the law of freedom ? The 
law of freedom is this : When a man di- 
vests himself of selfishness or ahanMra, 
L e., when he vacates his mind of the sense 
of ahanMra or the feeling of selfishness, then 
by a principle of nature the vacancy is filled 
up by something else. That something, 
which steps into the place vacated by-set- 
fishness is higher and purer by another law 


viz the law of grace. The vacancy is filled 
up by bhakti (attraction to the Supreme 
Being) and sraddM (desire in accordance 
with the Supreme Will). When the mind is 
filled with these, there is no bondage, no- 
burden. Then the man becomes free in 
every moment to be impressed with what is 
good or beautiful. He is not committed to 
any particular desire or to any particular line 
of desires. Sraddhd (desire out of deference 
to the Supreme Will) comes and goes with- 
out enchaining the mind to it. A duty when 
discharged leaves nothing behind it ; for, a 
duty is limited to time and place and the 
ability of the person. As the time and place 
is changed, and the ability is gone, the duty 
is no more. Thus there is nothing to sit upon 
the mind permanently in connection with it. 
To illustrate the great principle by some 

.common-place facts: A man's child falls 
dangerously ill For himself he cannot bear 
that his child should die. His passion for 
curing the child is overwhelming. Sup- 
pose he is a doctor and seats himself to treat 

it. He gives medicines impatiently 


commits blunder. One blunder leads to 
another. He thus aggravates the disease 
and the case turns out fatal. He will never 
forget his acts. They will stick to and haunt 
his mind for life. But suppose he forgets 
that the child is his, but with the same am- 
ount of interest proceeds to treat the child 
as a doctor under no passion in regard to 
the case. He will have but little of selfish 
infatuation. He will administer medicines 
patiently and quietly but whether, he suc- 
ceeds or not he will soon forget the case and 
it will t not haunt his mind, provided he suc- 
ceeds to forget the anxieties of the father. In 
fact in the case of the father, the chain of 
karma would be more binding, because he had 
a greater degree of selfful passion. In the 
case of the doctor, the tie of the karma would 
be very loose because he had very little of 
selfish passion in the matter. It being thus 
established that the less the selfish feeling 
the less is the binding effect of karma, it 
follows that when there is no selfish feeling 
there is no karma-bandha at all 

Take another case, where a man who 


is not quite competent to do a thing, 
goes to do it himself. He will commit 
blunder and (fail The failure will cause 
irritation, which will lead to other irritating 
and blundering acts, and so on. But 
suppose he has a good and honest servant, 
who is equally incompetent but who is 
ordered by him to do the thing. The 
servant has no selfish concern in the matter ; 
he will try to do his best to do the thing, 
being an honest and faithful servant, and if 
he fails, the matter as regards him ends 
there. It will not stick to his mind ; for, he 
had no selfish concern with the act. He 
did his duty and his mind is free. 

Thus the bondage of karma can only be 

got rid of by vacating the mind of selfish- 
ness and thereby allowing a pure sehse of 
disinterested duty to step in its place. It 
sometimes seems that the weak-minded men 
only are haunted by the effects of karma 
and that the so-called strong-minded shake 
them off. As a matter of fact however, both 
the weak and the so-called strong are bound 
'to suffer the effects of karma. One feels 


them immediately and the other sometime 

The next question is how to vacate the 
mind of akankdra or selfishness when it 
so completely enslaves the mind as to 
leave no room for free will. 

This is the great problem which has 
exercised the mind of one and all of the Hin- 
du philosophers. In fact the solution of the 
problem is the incentive to all the philoso- 
phical productions of the Hindus. How 
the Bhagavat Geeta solves the problem has 
been shown to a certain extent by the ex- 
Cracts made from that sacred book. 

Section 8 Self-Neglect not tolerated, 

The Hindu philosophers inculcate the 
principle of demolishing akank&ra, i. <? the 
tendency to inflate self. They also insist 
on the necessity of foregoing karma-phala, 
/.. *?,, all selfish motives in doing work. 


At every step they point out the necessity 
of suppressing kdma (selfish cravings} and 
to cultivate the habit of working unselfishly 
for the satisfaction of the Lord of the uni- 

Thus they apparently wage a war against 
self. But they really wage this war for the 
benefit of self. 

As for neglecting self, they would never 
allow it. One should be devoted to the 
good of all, a fortiori to his own good, 
One should look with an equal eye on all 
creatures. Is not one's own self one of the 
creatures ? And how can a man learn chari- 
ty before he practises it in regard to his own 
person with which he has been entrusted by 
God. Charity really begins at home. The 
Geeta in discussing the subject of tapas (spi- 
ritual self-discipline) thus condemns those 
who would immolate and hurt self, 

" 5 & 6. Those who contrary to the 
sfidstras, practise violent tapas (penance) with 
vanity and inflation of self and under the 
influence of selfish cravings, and gives hurt 
and pain to the bodily frame and to the sefit* 


lent thing within, must be set down as- 


In fact, the Hindu writers, as already 
pointed out, treat of self in a dual character 
higher and lower. The higher self con- 
sists of devotion to a higher ideal; the lower 
self consists of a self-inflating and self-pon- 
dering state. Thus they speak of controll- 
ing self by self, e. y controlling the lower 
self mixed up with a lower animal ideal by 
means of the higher self mixed up with a 
higher divine ideal, t 

The higher self, of necessity, presup- 
poses the existence of a Divine Being, while' 
the lower self is more or less engrossed in 
the material world. 

The Hindu system of morality is founded- 
upon a recognition of a spiritual world, aind' 
it can hardly be denied that morality with- 
out spirituality is really a baseless fabric. If 
a. man has attained spirituality or sattwa 

* See Slokas.s & 6, Chap. XVILGeeta, quoted' 

before in p. 4.1* 
t See Sloka ^3, Chap, III. Geeta. quoted before in- 


, t guna he will do his duty in respect of him 
as in respect of others. To do a thing for 
one's own benefit is not necessarily a bind- 
ing karma. Nor is there necessarily an 
expectation of Itarwa-phala in it. A thino- 
may be done for one's own benefit, but not 
on his account. If it is done from a pure sense 
of duty and not from any selfful considera- 
tions then it will fulfil the condition of a 
s&tttvik work. The Geeta enjoins man to 
work for the requirements of one's own life. * 
Itlays clown that a man is free from all impurity 
of motive when he. enjoys a thing after 
having offered it as a sacrifice, t Thus 
what gives enjoyment to self is not opposed 
to what is spiritually right It should be 
added that as regards the standard of 
right and wrong according to mere morality, 
all selfish acts are right that appertains to 


, 8 & /?, Chap. II L 


the superior side of the raja guna and not 
to the inferior side. In connection with the 
idea that an act which is beneficial to self 
does not necessarily contravene the sattwa 
gnna, it should also be noticed that an act 
is not necessarily s&ttwtk because it is bene- 
ficial to other persons. One should not lend 
himself to pander to the selfish passions of 
another. If one so lends himself, he no 
doubt does what is welcome to or apparently 
beneficial to others ; but clearly such a 
subserviency does not constitute duty and. 
cannot be called unselfish or sdttwik. 


Section 1. Yoga and the Gunas, 

What is the relation between yoga and 
the gunas ? This question naturally presents 
Itself. It is clear that jnana-yoga or karma- 
Yoga is merely the realization of the sattwa 
,gnna in a complete form. S&ttwik karma is 
defined "to be work which is enjoined, which 
is not the result of being addicted to any 
selfish object, is done without any passion or 
hatred, and is without any expectation of 
selfish benefit"* 

Yoga is defined to be the same thing. 

"r. He, who does work without any ex 
pectation of selfish benefit, is the yogi and 
sonny Asi, and not he who keeps no household 
fire and does no work."t 

* See sloka 23, Chap. XVIII. Geeta, quoted 

"before in p, 48. 

Stoka /, Chap, VL~ 



"ii. The yukta (self-controlled man) 
does work being free from attachment to any 
selfish object, and does it with all the powers 
of his body, mind and soul, for the purifica- 
tion of his soul."* 

While the s&ttwik state is thus identi- 
cal with the state of yoga, and r&jastk state 
is identical with sanga (attachment to 
things) which it is the object viyoga and. of 
s&ttwtk work to avoid. 

R&jasik karma is defined to be work 
which is done with the desire of a selfish 
benefit and with vanity and struggled 

The word k&mefis&& 9 which implies the 
desire of a selfish benefit, and which occurs 
in the above definition of r&jaszk karma, is 
synonymous, in effect, with sanga (attach- 
ment to any object), and sanga is the charac- 
teristic of \he-.aytikta (a man wanting in 
yoga). Thus, yoga is the state or condition 

.* See sloka //, Chap, V.~Geeta, quoted before 

in p* 1 20. 
t See sloka 2$, Chap. XVIILGeeta^ quoted 

before in p. 4.8. 

176 YOGA. 

of mind in which the raja guna is subdued' 
by the sattwa guna] in other words, the ytik~ 
ta is s&ttwik, the ayiikta is rdjaszk. 

One chief feature of the yukta state is in- 
difference to worldly pain and pleasure and 
to wordly success and failure. 

Worldly pain and pleasure are incidents, 
of the raja guna, being the results of an in- 
flated sense of self. So also worldly success 
and failure. 

The s&ttwzk silkha or dnanda (happiness)* 
is the sense of joy which arises from discipline 
without any reaction to sorrow, and which, 
though it may have been imbued with bitter- 
ness at the beginning is finally full of sweet- 


In fazyukta state there is this sdttwife 
dnanda (happiness), but there cannot be $M- 
kha (pleasure) and dUksha (pain) such as the 
raja guna produces, "being that which is 
sweet at the outset arising from the union 
of the senses with their objects, but which is 
bitter in the end".t 

* ft t 'Set tbkas, 37 <^ju 

quoted before in p, jp, 


Similarly, the fruit of yoga is siddhi (suc- 
cess). The siddhi is the realization of the 
highest state of harmony between the soul 
of a man and the Divine Being. But it is 
an essential element of yoga to be above 
worldly success and failure.* 

Thus, it is manifest that yoga is the reali- 
zation of the true sdttwzk or self-sacrificing 
state out of which comes genuine happiness 
and real success, but which is indifferent to 
worldly success or failure and which is above 
the rdjasik or worldly pleasure and pain. 

But it should be noticed that the dis- 
cussions of topics like the above, strictly be- 
long to spiritual philosophy and not to moral 
philosophy. Moral philosophy, as has been 
shown, practically relates to the distinction 
between the higher and the lower phase of 
the raja guna, and not properly to the dis- 
tinction between the sattwa guna and the 
other twogunas which falls within the scope 
of spiritual philosophy. 

<?, Chap. ./, 

12 . " ';' - ' : .''.'- . 

178 YOGA. 

Section 2. Yoga Generally. 

It has been shown that the jnana yoga and 
"karma yoga are identical with the cultiva- 
tion of the sattwa guna. Now a few words 
should be said on the principle of yoga 

The will, or the active energy of man, is 
the main spring of his existence. The three 
stages of consciousness, as explained before, 
the sensual state, the mental state and the 
spiritual state are but the three stages of 
the development of will In the sensual 
state, the will is identified with the moving 
power of external senses* In the mental 
state, the will is identified with the moving 
power called the self which centralizes the 
impressions of the senses and reflexively acts 
upon them to realize, selfish or other selfful 
gratifications, In the spiritual state, the 
will is identified with the reflection of the 
Supreme Will, and, as such, is invested with 
an ever-growing power, purity and peace. 

The cultivation of the selfish will is asso- 
ciated with distractions. It is opposed to 


the state called yoga. The sensual state of 
the will is yet more opposed to the state of 
yoga. It is the cultivation of the unselfish 
will the effort to focus all energies upon a 
Supreme Ideal that is called yoga. When 
the energies are so focussed, they radiate in 
all directions with splendour and glory. 
That is the effect of yoga. Yoga itself is the 
focussing of all energies upon a Supreme 
Ideal as the be-all and end-all of all things. 
That Supreme Ideal is the Supreme Will, 
the great spring of love, beauty, order and 

If the human will is concentrated upon 
this supremely loving, supremely beautiful 
and supremely intelligent Will the All- 
loving, the All-powerful God and constantly 
reflects upon Him, it gradually gets into the 
way of being transformed into higher and 
higher forms. 

This is the principle of yoga. It may be 
practised, generally speaking, in four ways : 

i. By faith and love (bhaktim&'prem^ 

2. By contemplation and concentration of 
thought \dky&na and mana san/ama), 

180 YOGA. 

3. By doing works and deeds for Him 
and unto Him. 

4. By certain physiological exercises 
whereby the grosser functions of the 
body are controlled and regulated and the 
mind is thrown into a higher and finer at- 
mosphere so as to realize the Supreme 

In Srimat Bhagavat Geeta, the first pro- 
cess is called the buddki and bkakti yoga\&& 
second is called the s&nkhya yoga ; the third 
is called the karma yoga ; and the fourth 
is called the at&ydsyoga. 

Section 3> The Abhyas Yoga. 

A few words specially on the abhy&syoga 
are necessary. At the autset, it should be 
said, that some people regard the abhy&s 
yoga as being all in all for human improve- 
ment- This is not 'right. 

Says the Geeta 

"9.' If you 'cannot concentrate your mind 


and heart upon Me, then try to realize Me 
by means of abhy&s yoga"* 

"10, If you are unable to perform the 
abhy&s yoga, then turn yourself completely 
into an instrument for doing My works ; and 
by working for Me you will secure siddhi 
[the highest success of existence.]* 

"n. If you are not able to do that, then 
surrendering yourself to Me, and being self- 
controlled give up all desires for selfish bene- 
fit from work/'* 

Here, the order in which the several 
means are mentioned, is based not upon con- 
sideration of importance, but of facility. 



II ! ! H 
Stokas, p~~~ii, Chap, XILGt&ta. 



For having said the above, the Geeta goes 
on to say : 

''12. Jnana is superior to abhyds, Mydna 
is superior to jnana and self-denial (the 
giving up of desires for selfish benefit from 
work) is superior to dliy&na?* 

Thus the abkyds yoga is placed in the 
lowest place of all Now, what is abhy&s 
yoga ? The Geeta gives some description 
of it. 

"29, Some gently stopping both inspir- 
ation and expiration induce the air to flow 
downward through the spinal column and 
then reverse the process. Again those who 
perform prdnfyydm* beginning with soft ins- 
piration and respiration gradually stop not 
only these, but the tendency of the air to 
escape through the downward passage. 
Others observing special rules of food simply 
regulate the breath, by gently leading the 


Sloka ,' Chap. XIL Geeta. 


inspired air into the expiring channel and 
vice versa"* 

"27 & 28. Having excluded all external 
touch, fixing the gaze between the eye-brows 
and equalizing the breath inward and out- 
ward as it moves in the nostrils, the mduni, 
who has effected control oimanas and buddki, 
who seeks salvation, and has mastered desire, 
fear and anger, gets salvation."''* 

"I3&I4. Placing the body, the neck and 
the head in an even line, and making them 
motionless, and being firm in purpose, and 

Slokas, 29 & jo, CKap. IVGeeta. 

A description of what is called Prdndydma is given in 
Chapter IV of the Geeta. 


, 27 & 2^ 

1 84 YOGA. 

casting the view upon the tip of the nose 
[without looking in other direction], and 
being in a cheerful state of mind, and devoid 
of fear, and devoted to the vrata (object of 
vow) of a brafimac/i&rit and controlling the 
mind, and being stationed in communion 
with Me, one should concentrate himself 
upon Me."* 

"ii&ia. In a pure place, having estab- 
lished a fixed seated posture of his own, on 
a spot which is neither too low nor too high 
and placing kiiska, grass upon it, and upon 
that a skin bedding and upon that a cloth, 
and taking his seat upon it, and making 
his attention undivided and controlling his 
senses and mind, one should practise yoga 
for the purification of his heart, "t 

trfvft iw ^mifaf 

t ij & 14., Chap, V.G 

\ \ \ 

i Chap. VIj 


Physical processes, like those described 
above, have been found to be immensely 
beneficial in developing the powers of concen- 
tration, and of developing higher nervous 
centres by which the power is acquired to 
control the baser desires and passions, But 
they require to be exercised with caution, 
and the attempt must always be made under 
the guidance of some qualified gurii or else 
serious evil may arise out of it. 

Section 4, The Jnana & Bhakti Yoga. 

A few words should also be specially said 
regarding \hejn&nayoga. Jndnais treated in 
the Geeta in two aspects, as a dry know- 
ledge of the spiritual world, and as a sweet 

Sloka 12, Chap. 'Vis Geeta. 
The above slokas describe the proper f lace and 
seat and the required state of mind. 

1 86 


and refreshing impression of the spiritual 
world. In the latter aspect, it is equivalent 
to bkakti* In the former aspect, it is des- 
cribed as the fire which burns to ashes all 
vitiated karma* 

Between th&jnd?ia which implies medi- 
tation of the indescribable and the unde- 
finable, and bhakti, which pours out its soul 
unto a Loving God, the path of the/ndnt has 
been declared by the Geeta to be more ar- 
duous and difficult. 1 * 

But jnana also is used as synonymous 
with bhakti in the Geetat. Here, the man, 
who worships God whbjn&na has been des- 


Sloka 38, Chap. I K Geeta. 

Sloka 5, Chap. XII Geeta, 

Chap. VII Geeta. 


cribed as one whose bhakti is single and 
undivided, being directed to God alone, 
and who loves God, and who, in return, is 
loved by God. 

Comparing with other classes of wor- 
shippers, the jndni is said to be one who is 
verily the self, and who being self-controlled 
obtains that highest object of all pursuits, the 
loving God.* 

Again it is said: 

"47. Of Q& yogis, he, who being devoted 
to Me with all his soul and heart worships 
Me with sincere regard, is the highest :t 

Thus the bhakti yoga is the highest of all. 

Now, the essence of the bhakti yoga is 
communion and worship. As to communion 
and worship the Geeta says : 

"u. The path man takes from every side 
is Mine. In whatever manner a man wor- 

Sloka 18, Chap. VIL Geeta. 
SM sloka 4.7, Chap. VL quoted before in p. 72. 

1 88 YOGA. 

ships Me I respond to him in the same 

"21* Different votaries worship the deity 
in different forms and shapes. Whatever 
form and shape a votary wishes to worship 
with devotion, I supply him with unfailing 
faith in that form and shape/' 1 " 


U i6. Among good and pious men who 
worship Me, there are four classes: the dis- 
tressed, the enquiring, the benefit-seeker and 
the spiritually wise."* 

Next the jn&ni, or the spiritually wise, 
is described as the most notable of all, bein 

mi *rf 

Hif**n; tRsr ^oqr: K f 1 8 

Slokart, Chap. /K Geeta* 

f trrit ^ wwnJr n t $ n 

/ 6* 16, Chap. VILGeeia* 


filled with a single-minded devotion and as 
loving God and being beloved by Him, * 


"19. The jn&navAna, or the spiritually 
wise, after many births realizes the presence 
of a loving personal God in every created 
object. One who has such good fortune is 

Thus, the power to realize the loving pres- 
ence of an individualized Personal God in 
everything in the creation, is the height of 
religious progress according to the Bhaga- 
vat Geeta. . . , . 

Thus jndna yoga -&cA-bhakti yoga are 
identified as the earnest practice of spiritual 
religion with a full insight of a higher world 
and with the sincerest love and devotion to 
the Lord of man's heart, the Master of his 
mind, and the Creator of the universe. 

* See sloka 77, Chap, VI L already quoted in p. 186. 
t aff ?lf sr^MHW "gFf^Rft WJSflt 1 

Sloka ig } Chap. VILGeeta 


The principle of Right and Wrong as 
in the Vedas and certain 
other Darshanas* 

Section 1* The Vedic treatment 
of Right and Wrong, 

The Vedas form the source of all the 
sciences and arts cultivated by the Hindus. 
They are the sources of the science of pro- 
nunciation and rhyming, that of grammar, of 
interpretation, astronomy, medicine, war- 
fare and music. Likewise, it is the Vedas 
that contain the germ of the moral science 
of the Hindus. We find in the Vedas the 
first enunciation of the principle of the 
consciousness of right and wrong. 

The English expression right and 
wrong is -one which is easily understood, but 
it is not scientifically exhaustive. For the 
expression 'not right', is not tantamount to 
'wrong', and, 'not wrong 1 is not tantamount 
to 'right/ What is 'not wrong* may not be 
positively right and what is *not right* may 


not be positively wrong. Thus what is implied 
by the negative expressions, are not included 
in the positive terms right and wrong. In 
the Vedas the terms sreyas (commendable) 
and hey a (shunnable) correspond to the 
English words, right and wrong. These are 
equally positive as the words 'right' and 
'wrong' and they are similarly uriexhaustive. 
But to denote the moral distinction accu- 
rately and at the same time exhaustively, 
another couple of terms is made use of in 
the Vedas viz. sreyas (agreeable to the High- 
est Ideals) m&preyas (agreeable to one's 
likings). These two terms indicate pursuing 
a thing as being right and pursuing a thing 
as being pleasurable. Both these terms are 
positive and they are exhaustive at the same 
time. If a man pursues a thing it is either 
because it is taken to be the right thing or 
taken to be pleasurable. Thus the moral 
distinction is made entirely subjective and 
has nothing objective in it In other words 
a thing may be right, wrong or indifferent. 
But that is no criterion of the moral sense. 
But whether you pursue it as being pleasur- 


able or as being higher than pleasurable that 
is the criterion of the moral sense according 
to the Vedas. 

In the Katha Upanishad of the Krishna 
Yayur Veda the teacher addressing his pupil 
says : 

" What men are conscious of as the right 
(sreyas) is different from what they are 
conscious of as the pleasurable (prey as}. 
Men are influenced by them for different 
purposes. He that follows the pleasurable 
falls off. The right and the pleasurable 
taking hold of all men, the calm reflecting 
man separates the one from the other and 
follows the right, while the corrupt follows 
the pleasurable.!"* 

inct wiffi ii? B 


This passage of the Vedas presents the 
subject of moral consciousness in the simplest 
at the same time the most basical form. It- 
describes what passes in the mind of every - 
man high or low. Thus it presents a uni- 
versal truth. Again it points out how the 
right prevails over the pleasurable and in 
what circumstances it fails. It prevails 
where the mind of a man is in a healthy 
state such as is the case with a calm reflect- 
ing (dkird) mat\. It fails where the mind is 
disturbed and depraved (manda) by exter- 
nal circumstances. This solution of the 
question why one man acts righteously and 
another wrongly, though of an ordinary 
kind, is the only solution that can be given. 

This leads to the important question how 
a healthy mind is to be secured in order 
that it may elect to do what is right 
(sreyas] and discard the path of the pleasur- 
able (preyas). This question is of greater 

importance than the question of the analysis 
of moral consciousness. 

The way in which the Hindu sages solve 
this, question of preparing the man to follow 


what is right (sreyas) and eschew the path of 
wrong (asreyas or prey as) distinguishes the 
Hindu system of philosophy on this subject 
from the modern European system. 

The European idea of ethical science is 
limited to the question of regulating conduct 
as between man and man. The ideal of it 
is an individaul who is just and fair to his 
neighbours. *Do not steal/ 'do not lie,' 'do 
not injure your neighbours, 1 and the like are 
the matters falling under the purview of 
European ethics and hardly anything more. 

The Hindu idea of ethics contains this 
and a great deal more. The Hindu view of 
ethics is that it is a science which would 
teach a man to be imperviable to temptations 
of evil in general The Hindu ethics pri- 
marily claim to regenerate man from the 
frailties subject to which he is born. In 
short, it is the science of salvation (mokska). 
Thus the sreyas (the tight) as it occurs in 
the Hindu mind is an absolute spiritual 
righteousness involving not only right con- 
duct as between man and man, but a right 
habit of thinking, feeling, and living. This 


can only be secured by realizing the moral 
and spiritual order of the universe with a 
true conception of the Supreme Being and of 
individual man. Therefore the teacher in 
the Katha-Upanishad in explaining sreyas 
(the right) to his pupil, goes on to say : , 

"True realisation of the spiritual order 
of the universe (vidya) and false realisation 
are opposite to each other, and have differ- 
ent courses. I know, Natchiketa ! you are 
devoted to true realization, for many a 
tempting thing has failed to shake you from 
your resolution to stick to the sense of 

But while the Hindu idea of ethics is 
raised to cover the whole field of philosophy 
in the manner indicated above, it does not 
lose sight of the importance of separately 
considering the subject of right conduct be- 


Katka Upaniskad* 


tween man and man which corresponds to 
the narrow European Idea of ethics. What 
Patanjali treats under the head of yama 
(moral discipline) is this limited moral 
science. Again the word dharma, as it 
occurs in the D/mnna S/idstras, is mainly 
used to indicate moral duties between man 
and man. 

Thus, according to the Hindu sages, the 
conception of right and wrong is twofold. 
One conception is absolute spiritual righte- 
ousness embracing the whole existence of 
man and converting that existence into a 
divine state. The other is a conception of 
relative righteousness affecting merely the 
social life. The first has been called spiri- 
tual righteousness* the consideration of 
which is peculiar to the Hindu philosophy ; 
the second has been designated as moral 
righteousness being the same as the Europe- 
an conception of ethics. 

Now both the spiritually right and wrong 
and the morally right and wrong are explain- 
ed and understood by the Hindus with 
reference to what is universally known as 


the three gnnas\he sattwa, rajas and 
Jamas, which has been explained before. 

Section 2, The Sankhya treatment of 
Right and Wrong. 

It has been seen that the Vedas show 
that the germ of the sense of right and 
wrong consists of the struggle between the 
.sreyas (agreeable to the Highest Ideal) and 
theflreyas (agreeable to the liking). These 
two correspond to the s&ttwik and the raja- 
sik. The Vedas also take" note of the key a 
which corresponds to the id-mastic, but do 
not attach importance to it in the region of 
Ethics it being a state of torpor. 

The Sankhya Philosophy, though it 
follows a different phraseology, illustrates the 
same truths. 

According to both, the sense of right is a 
rider of the sense of the spiritual summum 
bonum. The S&nkhya Philosophy opens 
with the question, how to get rid of the 
thrfee sorts of pain ? To rescue one's self 


and others from all possibility of the three 
kinds of pain* is the final mission of humanity 
according to the Sl;nkhya Philosophy. The 
three kinds of pain are : 

1. Adky&tmik arising from the state 
of one's own inward self. 

2. Adhidaivik arising from higher in- 

3. Adkibhantik arising from external 
physical influences. 

Rishi Kapila treats of the subject of 
etiology of pain at great length and comes 
to the conclusion that it arises from that 
want of harmony between the centrical en- 
tity (the soul) on the one hand, and all that 
is on the surface (Nature) on the other, 
which is owing to not realising the true dis- 
tinction between the two, 

"The cause is the fusion of soul and 
matter in a state of inharmony from want of 
true discrimination between the two"*** 


Suims, JT &* 55, Chap. L 

S&nkhya DarsKana* 


Thus pain accrues to man from not 
differentiating between his true being and 
his surroundings. So situated there is a 
perpetual desire in man to get rid of this in- 
harmony continually expressed in invoking 
benedictions and blessings, and such invoca- 
tion, the author says, is not baseless. 

He says : 

"The invocation of blessings and bene- 
dictions is inculcated by the wise ; it has 
efficiency and is besides laid down by the 


But, says he, this blessing to get rid 
of evils and to be landed in the good, is not 
the function of a Man-like-god. It is secur- 
ed by man's own work, t 
. Having laid down the theory that invo- 
cation ' of blessings does not imply the 
existence of a localized anthropological Divi- 
nity, he goes on to say that this theory is not 

ft 1 1 

Sutras, i & 2, Chap. V. 

Sdnkhya Darshana* 


inconsistent with the sense of right and 
wrong in man. 

"The sense of right and wrong is not 
affected (thereby) because it arises from the 
varieties of nature [sattwa, rajas and tanias]* 

"The Vedic injunctions direct and in- 
direct [Sr&ti and Lingo] also establish the 
distinction between right and wrong, "t 

"Because there is no evidence of the 
senses, the injunctions are not merely 
directory/ 1 * 

"If the sense of right is established the 
sense of wrong is similarly established/'^ 

"If the sense of right is established by 
positive purpose, the sense of wrong is 
similarly established/'^ 

Sutras, 20, 21, 22, 23 & 24, Chap. V, 


Then the author goes on to point out 
that the sense of right and wrong lies in" the 
internal sense (s&ttwtk buddhi)* and that 
the internal sense (bitddhi) is not beyond the 
influence of the gnnas sattwa, rajas and 

He says 

"It can be proved syllogistically that 
the sense of right involves the tendency to 

It should be noticed that this tendency 
is not prey as [agreeable to one's liking], but 
dtmapras&d [self-complacency] which is the 
concomitant of sreyas [agreeable to the 
Highest Ideal]. 

The Rishi says 

1 'That the connection of the sense of right 


Suttas, 2j t 26 & 27, Chap. V. 

SAnkhya Darshana. 


with the sense of complacency Is not es- 
tablished by one instance only." * 

"The connection must be constant as in 
the case of vy&pti, which means a constant 
eoncomitancy of one thing with another. "t 

Section 3. The Patanjala treatment of 
Right and Wrong. 

The idea of transcendental righteousness- 
as foreshadowed in the SUnkhya in connec- 
tion with the question, how evils and suffer- 
ings can be absolutely removed, is brought 
out by Patanjali more fully. He lays down 
three propositions to define what we call 
parindma or tendency. 

x. There is the tendency to the cessa- 
tion of excitement caused by likes and dis- 

Sutras, 28 & 29, Chap. V. 

Sdnkkya Darskana, 


likes and things of that sort. This is called 

2. Then when such excitement subsides 
and tranquillity comes in, there is the ten- 
dency to be engrossed in the supreme single 
ideal of the universe to the exclusion of 
others. This is called Sam&dki parin&ma.* 

3. From these two follows, the tendency 
to act up to the single supreme ideal, tran- 
quillity and activity being then undifferen- 
tiated. This is called ekagratd-parin&ma.t 

Of course each of these has various 
degrees and the character of each is promi- 
nently brought out by rotation . 


Sutras, p, //, 12 & /5, Bk t III. 



JEk&gratd-parindma is the state of tran- 
scendental righteousness. In it, Nature at its 
highest viz* the silddka sattwa prevails with- 
out let or hindrance. Patanjali maintains 
that there is no struggle and conflict of the 
sense of right and wrong in the conscious- 
ness of the man who has attained to this state. 

According to the above view, moral con- 
sciousness arises from disturbances of the 
normal healthy state of the spiritual nature 
of man, just as a man feels the existence of 
his stomach when it is more or less out of 
order. When the digestive organ goes on 
properly, one does not notice the agreeable 
or disagreeable character of digestion. He 
feels it only when the working of the organ 
is disturbed by something incongenial to it. 
Then it becomes necessary to remove the 
incongenial or obstructive circumstance. 

Thus a man who has attained to his 
natural spiritual state, works on properly 
without any consciousness of the destinction 
of right and wrong so long as he finds no ob- 
stacle in his way to impede his course* 
When such an obstacle appears, he feels 


that the course he was following is capable 
of disturbance and further that it brings into 
existence, the conflicting ideas of right and 
wrong, just as a man who never knows of 
good and bad digestion comes to know of it 
when he comes to experience an occasion of 
bad digestion. 

When this happens the absolute good 
that was silently working in him, becomes a 
correlative of bad. The attempt arises to 
remove this obstacle and to restore the ori- 
ginal absolute healthy state. 

Accordingly, Rishi P&tanjali puts it 
as follows : 

"Extraneous causes do not constitute the 
moving springs of ( sdtfwiik ) prakriti 
Nature -but such s&ttwik prakriti moves of 
itself when obstacles are removed, as in the 
case of water flowing, owing to the removal 
of obstacles by the cultivator."* 

It follows that the action of the yogi who 
has attained to the absolute sdttwik state, 

Sutra 3) Bk. IV* Pdtanjala Darshana. 


nature presents to him no consciousness of 
relative righteousness, as is the case with 
those who are in the plane of worldly trials. 
The righteousness in his case is something 

which raises no thought and no concern and 
has a spontaneous course. The Rishi ex- 
pounds this truth as follows : 

"The action of the yogi is neither black 
nor white, while those of the ordinary people 
are white, black or of a mixed colour."* 

Having thus descended from the highest 

*~' O 

.absolute spiritual standard to the relative 
moral standard of worldly men, the Rishi 
points out how the latter standard is pro- 
gressive .being gradually evolved by the 
process <&yo%a. 

The highest point of the development of 
the relative moral standard, the Rishi des- 
cribes as follows : 

"The samddki that causes showering of 
righteousness takes place when one in adcli- 

'Sutra 7, Bk. IV.PAfanjala Darshapa. 


tion to thorough knowledge is also disinter- 
ested in motive."* 

Now leaving the transcendental ethics, 
Rishi P&tanjali deals with the practical ethics 
of the ordinary world more fully than any 
other Hindu Philosopher. The sense of 
right and wrong, it has been seen, is asso- 
ciated by Rishi Kapila with the inherent 
instinct of humanity to invoke blessings, but 
he leaves it there. Rishi P&tanjali lays it 
down that the instinct of invoking blessings 
is eternal, betokening the beginninglessness 
of desires.* 

According to P&tanjali, invocation of bles- 
sings in the shape of prayer to God, is 
on effective mode of securing purity of 
action. This is apparent from the following 

"Developing the power of endurance, 

Sutra 29 & JO.Bk.IV. 

Paianjala Darshana. 


self-study and devotion to God, constitute 
theyo^a of action/'* 

Now the yoga of action consists of yam 
and nfyama* 

Under the head of yama (self-control) 
are placed $ 

1. AAzmsd not injuring* others, 

2. Satya truthfulness. 

3. Asteya avoiding misappropriation, 

4. Brahmack&ryay cultivation of per- 
sonal purity. 

5, y/#7?^fl^ non-acceptance of return 
for service done. 

Under the head of niy&ma are placed t : * 

1. Scmcka purity, 

2. Santosk- contentment. 

3. T&pt~-~ disciplinary hardship. 

4. Sdddhya- ..... -self-study. ' 

5. Iskwar-pTanidh&n^ devotion to God, 

. 30 & j2 t Bk* IL 
PAtonfalct D&r&hdn* 


The practice of the above Patanjali 
suggests as the cultivation of moral sense. 
And in order to strengthen the habit of do- 
ing what is right, the Rishi suggests that one 
should in order to discountenance wrong 
actions, dwell on the hideousness of such 
wrong actions, this being called pratipakshci 
vdbanam* and takes care to point out 
that the motive of right action should be 
no other than the pure motive inspired by 
dky&naf Although according to various 
constitutions another guiding motive may 
control the variety of desires. t 

Thus he shows that the incentive to right 
action should not and cannot be any desired 
expediency or utility. Yet, however, he points 


Sutra 34, Bk. ILPdtanjala Darshana. 

Sutras, 6 & 5, Bk. IV. 
Pdtanjala Darshana. 

14-- : - . - .- .' -\:,; : - --' :--; 


out how the various right acts, enumerated 
under the head of yama and niyama, are 
productive of benefit to the actors. 

As regards akimsft [abstaining from in- 
juring others] he says that when this is 
done, you have the benefit of people ceasing 
to be your enemies.* 

As regards satya [truthfulness] he points 
out that when a truthful habit is established, 
your acts will bear fruits without question, t 
Then as to asleya (abstaining from mis- 
appropriation) he says that when this habit 
is established you will never be in lack of 
wealth. You will get all sorts of wealth from 
all sides, t 

Then as to brahmvk&ryy& % he lays down, 
that when this is established, you acquire 
stamina. 8 

Sutras, J5 3** 37 <^ 3$, B& &* 

Pdtanjala Darskana* 


As to reward for aparigraka the author 
puts it very highly. He says that [securing 
as it does a freedom from mercantile spirit,] 
It opens the mind to a knowledge of one's 
past and future.* 

It has been seen that according to 
Spnkhya, what is right is conducive to 
happiness, but pleasure or happiness is not 
the motive for the action. Rishi Patanjali 
also lays down the same thing. In fact, 
both Rishis Kapila and Patanjali only illus- 
trate and explain the Vedic exposition of 
sreyas [agreeable to the Highest Ideal] and 
prey as [agreeable to one's liking]. 

Section 4. * Buddhistic treatment of 
Right and Wrong, 

The teachings of Buddhism are pre- 
eminently marked with the principles of 
ethics. The bulk of them consist of dis- 

Sutra 39, Bk. ILPAtanjala Datshana* 


cusslons and the ways and means of cultivat- 
ing a righteous life culminating in what may 
be called the religious doctrine of the great 
Lord Buddha* 

Bauddha religion lies in a nutshell of two 
words, duddka-sattwdi and nitvdna,\ht 
first term meaning the essence of Spiritual 
Enlightenment and the second the Supreme 
Satisfaction which is the end of all desires. 

Bauddha ethics is based upon a bold as- 
sertion of four truths \chatvAri dryasatydnt]. 
These four truths called the Four Noble 
Truths are the axioms on which the whole 
fabric of Buddhism is built. They are : 

1. That suffering is a fact, 

2. That it has causes. 

3. That it is removable. 

4. That there are means of removing it. 
Religionists and theorists all over the 

world only complain and quarrel with the 
existence of suffering in Nature, In fact 
they break their head over it. The Great 
Buddha not only uncomplainingly welcomes 
it but puts it as the noblest of all truths; It 
is the noblest truth. For it is by suffering 


or the possibility of suffering that man is the 
noblest being that he is, It is the road to 
spiritual enlightenment. It is the means of 
the high conception of which he is proud 
the conception of liberty and responsi- 

The four noble truths as stated above 
constitute that great idea which is called 
karma. And it is this karma which forms 
the basis of the sense of right and wrong ac- 
cording to Buddhism. The word -tern*, as 
used both in the Hindu shdstras and the 
Bauddha works, when properly analyzed, 
comes to mean the chain of events en- 
gendered by that thing called individual 
will which perpetually clings to the nature of 
man. Both Hinduism and Buddhism point 
out that this perpetual clinging of individual 
will to the nature of man is the cause of 
"suffering/' And this is designated in the 
Buddhism as the first noble truth. Again 
both Hinduism and Buddhism point out that, 
it (karma) is the means which leads to the 
cessation of suffering. Thus karma (indivi- 
dxlal will) is both the cause of evil and the 


remedy of evil It is the cause when the 
man surrenders himself to the perpetual cyc- 
lic movements of his environments. It is 
the remedy when he throws himself into the 
path towards the Spiritual Enlightenment and 
to that Supreme Satisfaction w/iick is the end 
of all desires. This inherent contest between 
the two phases of karma (individual will) 
constitutes the sense of right and wrong. 
And the whole of Buddhism elaborately deals 
with the possible courses that an individual 
human being may have to follow either in 
rising or falling. 

The remedial karma viz. in the direction 
of the right arises from that phase of indivi- 
dual will which seeks the substance of things 
neglecting mere ideas based on words and 
thus approaches the state of true knowledge 
and absolute happiness. This is described* 
by Buddhism as tending to nfrvdna, 

According to Aryadeva's commentary 
on Nagarjuna's Midhyaimki KArikA (26th 
chapter) all theories based on words are 

The following concluding passage from 


the above work which represents the essence 
of Buddhism, clearly shows this ; * 

"Such sixty two heresies are not tenable 
seeing that all things zresunya. It is possible 
to attain absolute happiness a*id to understand 
the true characteristic of all things only 
when all desires and all useless words are 
destroyed. From the first chapter to this 
chapter, which is the, 26th, our investigation 
and discussion has been that " all is non- 
existence, is not non-existence, is neither, 
nor both, all is not non-existence nor non 
non-existence nor neither nor both." This 
is the true attribute of all things and is also 
called the " nature of suchness " or true 
Nirv&na. Therefore the Tathgata pres- 
cribes to the people the characteristics of 
Nirv&na always and everywhere so that 
any idea of desiring reward ceases and use- 
7es$ words are destroyed" (22-24). 

Thus the true NitvAnaor the true 'such- 
ness' arises from realising that mere words 

'*. From the English Translation by Late 
HarinathDe. MA.F.R.A.S. 


and desires connected with them are ever 
between two contradictions. Neither nor 
both of which can be the basis of life. What 
is life is something beyond where all theo- 
ries involving selfish desires absolutely cease. 
It has been seen that this is the goal of 
righteousness and the right according not 
only to such great philosophers as Kapila and 
Patanjali but also of Sri mat Bhagabat Geeta 
which is replete with the same truth.